Governance tools for the conservation of wetlands: The role of the Montreux Record under the Ramsar Convention

Evan Hamman, Tess Van Geelen, Afshin Akhtar-Khavari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Ramsar Convention is the world's most important international treaty governing wetland environments. Since the 1970s, the Convention has concerned itself with listing and protecting wetlands of international significance. However, in the past three decades, a focus has shifted from the identification of potential sites, towards addressing adverse changes in their 'ecological character'. One of the few mechanisms Ramsar has at its disposal for achieving this is the Montreux Record (MR). The MR, first established in 1990, is a kind of 'in danger' list for Ramsar sites that have undergone, are undergoing, or are likely to undergo, adverse ecological change. Unlike other in-danger lists, such as, for example, under the World Heritage Convention, the MR is entirely voluntary and not deployed as a disciplinary measure or reputational sanction. The empirical research presented in this paper shows the declining use and importance of the MR. The paper provides an analysis of the composition and use of the MR from 1990 to 2018 and generates recommendations for how it might be used more effectively. The findings in this paper are significant, given the rapid declines of many Ramsar sites around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1502
Number of pages10
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


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