World Wetlands Day
Theme of 2018: Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government orgnzations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, announcement of new Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and wetland rehabilitation.
World Wetlands Day Themes
Each year a theme is selected to focus attention and help raise public awareness about the value of wetlands. Countries organize a variety of events to raise awareness such as ; lectures, seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, community clean-up days, radio and television interviews, letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar Sites and new programmes at the national level.
2018 Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future
2017 Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction
2016 Wetlands For Our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods
2015 Wetlands For Our Future
2014 Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth
2013 Wetlands Take Care of Water
2012 Wetland Tourism: A great experience
2011 Forests for water and wetlands
2010 Caring for wetlands – An answer to climate change
2009 Upstream, Downstream: Wetlands connect us all
2008 Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People
2007 Fish for tomorrow?
2006 Livelihoods at Risk
2005 There's Wealth in Wetland Diversity - Don't Lose It
2004 From the mountains to the sea – Wetlands at work for us
2003 No wetlands – no water
2002 Wetlands : Water life and culture
2001 A wetland world – A world to discover
2000 Celebrating our wetlands of international importance
1999 People and wetlands- the vital link
1998 Importance of water to life & role of wetlands in water supply
1997 WWD celebrated for the first time
What are Ramsar wetlands?
Under the Ramsar Convention, a wide variety of natural and human-made habitat types ranging from rivers to coral reefs can be classified as wetlands. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, billabongs, lakes, salt marshes, mudflats, mangroves, coral reefs, fens, peat bogs, or bodies of water - whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary. Water within these areas can be static or flowing; fresh, brackish or saline; and can include inland rivers and coastal or marine water to a depth of six metres at low tide. There are even underground wetlands.
The Ramsar Convention encourages the designation of sites containing representative, rare or unique wetlands, or wetlands that are important for conserving biological diversity. Once designated, these sites are added to the Convention's List of Wetlands of International Importance and become known as Ramsar sites. In designating a wetland as a Ramsar site, countries agree to establish and oversee a management framework aimed at conserving the wetland and ensuring its wise use. Wise use under the Convention is broadly defined as maintaining the ecological character of a wetland. Wetlands can be included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance because of their ecological, botanical, zoological, limnological or hydrological importance.
For a wetland to be designated to this list it must satisfy one or more of the criteria for identifying wetlands of international importance.
The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has developed a number of downloadable World Wetlands Day materials for 2018, including a poster, an infographic, a Power Point presentation, fact sheets and a t-shirt logo. These materials can be found on the Ramsar Convention Secretariat’s World Wetlands Day 2018 website(link is external). Groups and individuals are encouraged to adapt these materials for their own World Wetlands Day events and activities.