On signing up to Ramsar, member countries are required to nominate at least one Wetland of International Importance
. The criteria for inclusion on the list are varied, but include being a rare or unique example of a type of wetland or providing habitat to endangered species.
Ramsar's member countries are committed to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance. Thus, once these sites are listed and their size is recorded, they should be protected from development, pollution and drainage.
Through its list of Wetlands of International Importance, Ramsar aims to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life.