German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) (1971)

Logo of the  Ramsar-Convention

The Convention on Wetlands

Contracting parties:

169 (as of February 2018), Germany has been a party since 1976.


Originally, the objective of the Ramsar Convention was the conservation and sustainable use ("wise use") of all wetlands as the habitat of waterbirds. In recent years, the convention’s objectives have broadened, now covering the comprehensive protection of wetlands as important ecosystems for the maintenance of biodiversity.


By acceding to the Ramsar Convention, the member states commit to designating at least one wetland within their territory as a "Wetland of International Importance", to take steps to maintain and develop this site and, if possible, further sites. In addition, the contracting states must take steps to ensure wise use of other wetlands within their territory. The contracting states are also called upon to engage in international cooperation. A detailed report must be provided every three years.

The Montreux Record is an important instrument of the convention. This lists wetlands of international importance whose ecological character has deteriorated significantly or is likely to deteriorate in the foreseeable future. Measures to improve the situation of the sites are elaborated.

Implementation of the convention rests essentially upon cooperation between the contracting states, the Standing Committee, the Secretariat, the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) and the Communication Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Panel. The Conference of the Contracting Parties (CoP) meets every three years to review general trends and adopt further measures for implementation.


The Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Mauverney 28
1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 22 999 0170
Fax: +41 22 999 0169

Tasks of the BfN:

Provision of advice to the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and the special authorities of the German Länder on the implementation and further development of the Ramsar Convention.


June 2015: Results of the 12th conference of the parties in Uruguay

March 2015: Wetlands for our future: stakeholder's exchange and networking (Workshop)

January 2014: BfN press release on World Wetlands Day (in German)

December 2013:
Implementation of the Ramsar-Convention: stakeholders' exchange and networking (Workshop)

Last Change: 10/04/2018