The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that aims to ensure the conservation and wise use of wetlands worldwide. It's mission is to maintain their ecological character "through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution toward achieving sustainable development throughout the world."

AIDA attorneys use the Convention to strengthen the work we do to protect wetlands and that work, in turn, strengethens the Convention itself. We use the guidelines established by Ramsar and extend them beyond its designated sites to all wetlands in the Americas. AIDA's work puts pressure on governments so that they understand that when they sign and ratify an international treaty like Ramsar, they have an obligation to comply. 

12th Conference of Parties | Wetlands For Our Future

From June 1-9 in Punta de Este, Uruguay, the Convention member nations convened in the 12th Conference of Parties. As Ramsar's primary organ, the Conference enables the convention's 168 contracting parties to meet every three years to ensure the compliance of all members. Contracting nations are obligated to ensure that wetlands in their territories maintain important ecological functions, such as providing clean water, replenishing groundwater aquifers and nurturing biodiversity.

AIDA and other civil society organizations presented information on draft resolutions, which provide solutions to the challenges nations encounter when implementing the treaty, and ensure that governments make clear commitments to conserve important ecosystems. 

Our Focus on Key Ecosystems

AIDA's work with the Ramsar Convention is focused on the conservation of three key wetlands ecosystems in Latin America: mangroves, corals reefs and páramos.

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Infographic: Protecting Wetlands

Wetlands worldwide are at threat due to changes in land use, pollution and unsustainable development. This infographic breaks down why wetlands are so important, and how the application of the Ramsar Convention can help us protect these sensitive and vital ecosystems. 

View Infographic

Fighting for a Mangrove Forest

A view of mangrove tucked between the blue cloudy sky and blue river waters.

The only hydropower-free river in Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental, the San Pedro Mezquital is the main artery that feeds Marismas Nacionales, one of the country's largest, most productive and biodiverse mangrove forests.

Since 2009, when we first petitioned the Ramsar Secretariat on this issue, we've been fighting to protect this valuable ecosystem and to defend the human rights of the indigenous peoples that depend upon it.  

Last year the government approved the Las Cruces Dam project, violating national and international environmental and human rights laws.  We're continuing our fight to have the permit process deemed illegal and revoke the authorization that would dam the last free-flowing river in Mexico's western mountains.

Our Fight Against Las Cruces

Protecting Cabo Pulmo

Overview of Cabo Pulmo. | Credit: Siddartha Velázquez

Cabo Pulmo is an ecological treasure in Baja California Sur, Mexico. More than 20,000 years old, it is one of three coral reefs on the American Pacific coast. Many of the 800 marine species in the Sea of ​​Cortez take refuge at the reef, which studies show plays a key role in the ecology of the region.

We've been working for years to protect the site from mega-tourism development. Understanding the need to strengthen the efforts of the civil society with international legal strategies, we have partnered with communities and local and international organizations to fight the resorts that violate Mexico's own environmental laws.

Learn More About Cabo Pulmo