National Reports submitted to the Conference of the Contracting Parties
Recommendation 2.1 (1984) urged Parties to submit detailed National Reports (NRs) to the Secretariat at least six months before each ordinary meeting of the Conference, and this tradition has continued unbroken to this day.
The Ramsar Convention enjoys the highest percentage of NRs received of all the environment-related conventions - of 113 Parties at the time of COP7 in 1999, 107 NRs (97%) were received and 3 newly-acceded Parties were exempted; of 133 Parties at the time of COP8 in 2002, 119 NRs (95%) were received and 8 Parties that had recently joined the Convention were exempted. For COP9 in 2005, with 146 Contracting Parties at the time, of which 5 had newly joined and were exempted, 118 NRs (84%) were received in time for discussion at the COP! And Of 158 Contracting Parties at the time of COP10, 142 have submitted their National Reports, 1 was a new Party and not expected to submit a report in its first year, and 15 Parties failed to submit their National Reports -- a return of 90.4%. For COP11 in 2012, 91% (143 of 157) reports were received.
The National Reports are submitted in one of the three official languages and become part of the public record. They are studied and summarized by the Ramsar Secretariat in the form of regional overviews, which are submitted to the COP as official working documents. The texts of the National Reports themselves are published on the Ramsar Web site and in the COP Proceedings, and their contents are analyzed into a database which allows the production of statistical reports on the implementation of the Convention over a wide range of variables.
National Reports provide: a valuable overview of national experiences;continuous monitoring of the implementation of the Convention; a means of sharing information relating to wetland conservation measures that have been taken, any problems that may have arisen, and appropriate solutions to such problems.
National Reports on implementation of the Convention are structured according to the current Strategic Plan and seek information on each Party's success in progressing the Operational Objectives and their respective Actions called for in that Plan. Each triennium, the Standing Committee adopts a "National Report Format" to be distributed to the Parties well in advance of each meeting of the COP - the purpose of this document is not only to facilitate reporting on past achievements but also to assist the Parties in structuring their activities within the framework of the Strategic Plan.
National Reports from COPs 1 (1980) to 5 (1993) were published in the hardcopy Proceedings of the COPs. The National Reports submitted for COP6 (1996) were never published. The Reports from COPs 7 (1999) following are available here.