German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) (1971)

Logo of the  Ramsar-Convention

Contracting Parties:

171 (as of January 2021), Germany has been a Party to the Convention since 1976.


Originally, the objective of the Ramsar Convention was the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands as habitats of waterbirds. However, the Convention's objectives have expanded significantly since its adoption in 1971 and now include the holistic protection of wetlands as important ecosystems for the conservation of biodiversity. The Ramsar Convention thus focuses on the protection and sustainable use ("wise use") of wetlands, communication and education on the importance of wetlands, and international cooperation in this field.


The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty. Its Contracting Parties commit to nominating at least one wetland within their territory as a "Wetland of International Importance" and to ensuring the conservation of ecosystem functions and services within it and within further sites that are to be nominated, if possible. Contracting Parties must also take steps to ensure the wise use of the other wetlands within their territories Member and are called upon to cooperate internationally. Every three years, a detailed report on the implementation of the Convention in the respective Member State must be submitted.

Under the Ramsar Convention, guidelines and technical support materials are developed, resolutions on various aspects of wetland protection at the global level are adopted, and public communication measures on the importance of wetlands are implemented.

The implementation of the Convention is mainly based on the cooperation between the Contracting States, the Standing Committee, the Ramsar 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 new developments and to adopt further measures for implementation.

BfN’s role:

BfN advises the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the technical authorities of the German federal states on the implementation and further development of the Ramsar Convention. It also provides the National Focal Point for the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP).

To the BfN's international activities in the context of the Ramsar Convention

Last Change: 01/02/2021