Altogether, as many as 170 states have signed the Ramsar Convention. World-wide there are 2,341 Ramsar sites with a total area of approximately 252 million hectares.
The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental agreement providing the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
In the early seventies the focus of the Ramsar Convention was still on the protection of migrating waterfowl. Meanwhile, the protection of wetlands has been declared the overall objective.
Austria acceded to the Ramsar Convention in 1983. As from the entry-into-force of the provisions of the Convention, Austria has been obligated to foster the conservation of wetlands. Austria has designated 23 Ramsar sites.
Conferences of the Parties
The supreme body of the Ramsar Convention is the Conference of the Parties (COP). In June 2015, the latest Conference of the Parties (COP12) was held in Punta del Este (Uruguay). The guiding theme of the Conference was “Wetlands for our future”.
The representatives of the Member States meet at least every three years at the Conference of the Parties. They discuss the state of implementation of the Convention, report on the experiences made on national level, check the status of the Ramsar sites, and promote joint activities.