Ramsar sites (Wetlands)

Ramsar Convention

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971.

Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention and improve the way in which the Parties are able to implement its objectives.


Three pillars of Ramsar Convention

Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:

  1. work towards the wise use of all their wetlands;
  2. designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management;
  3. cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.

The Montreux Record

The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.

Facts about Ramsar Convention/Sites

  • The number of contracting parties is 169.
  • At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in theList of Wetlands of International Importance.
  • The inclusion of a “Ramsar Site” in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
  • Wetlands included in the List acquire a new national and international status: they are recognized as being of significant value not only for the country or the countries in which they are located, but for humanity as a whole.
  • There are nine criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance.
  • The 2nd of Februaryeach year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971.

Ramsar sites (Wetlands) in India

A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water. Marshes, ponds, the edge of a lake/ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood — all of these are wetlands. Wetlands of international importance are also known as Ramsar sites.

More than 2200 wetlands of international importance

  • Today, the Ramsar List is the world’s largest network of protected areas.
  • There are currently over 2,200 Ramsar Sites around the world. They cover over 2.1 million square kilometres, an area larger than Mexico.
  • The world’s first Site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.
  • The largest Sites are Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Queen Maud Gulf in Canada; these Sites each cover over 60,000 square kilometres.
  • The countries with the most Sites are the United Kingdom with 170 and Mexico with 142.
  • Bolivia has the largest area with 148,000 km2 under Ramsar protection.

Ramsar sites (Wetlands) in India: State-wise list

Sl. No. Wetland name State
1. Kolleru Lake Andhra Pradesh
2. Deepor Beel Assam
3. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary Gujarat
4. Chandertal Wetland  


Himachal Pradesh

5. Pong Dam Lake
6. Renuka Wetland
7. Hokera Wetland  



Jammu & Kashmir

8. Surinsar-Mansar Lakes
9. Tsomoriri
10. Wular Lake
11. Ashtamudi Wetland  



12. Sasthamkotta Lake
13. Vembanad-Kol Wetland
14. Bhoj Wetland Madhya Pradesh
15. Loktak Lake Manipur
16. Bhitarkanika Mangroves  


17. Chilika Lake
18. Harike Lake  



19. Kanjli
20. Ropar
21. Sambhar Lake  


22. Keoladeo National Park
23. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary Tamil Nadu
24. Rudrasagar Lake Tripura
25. Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch)  Uttar Pradesh
26. East Calcutta Wetlands West Bengal