February 2 is World Wetlands Day.
The Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands approved the themes for World Wetlands Day as follows:
- Wetlands and Climate Change, theme for 2019
- Wetlands and Biodiversity, theme for 2020
- Wetlands and Water, theme for 2021
Since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
The network of Ramsar Sites is truly global, and includes coastal and inland wetlands of all types in all six Ramsar regions.
The world’s first Site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974. The largest Sites are Ngiri-Tumba-Maindombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Queen Maud Gulf in Canada; these Sites each cover over 60,000 square kilometres. Others are as small as one hectare.
The countries with the most Sites are the United Kingdom with 170 and Mexico with 142. Bolivia has the largest area with 148,000 km2 under Ramsar protection; Canada, Chad, Congo and the Russian Federation have also each designated over 100,000 km2.
The Ramsar Sites
The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. Coastal wetlands include saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons and even coral reefs. Fish ponds, rice paddies, and salt
pans are human-made wetlands.
World Wetlands Day
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet. This day also 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.
Climate change is one of the most pressing problems facing humanity and our planet. Wetlands and Climate Change, the theme to celebrate World Wetlands Day in 2019, draws attention to the vital role of wetlands as a natural solution to cope with climate change.
How you can get involved
- Organize a conference or open day at a Wetland Centre or Wetland of International Importance.
- Invite wetland experts to explain the role of wetlands for climate change.
- Hold an exhibition to present and showcase arts or photographs about wetlands.
- Organize a community walk, bike or run for wetlands.
- Plan a wetland clean-up day.
- Organize a photo or essay competition.
- Visit a Wetland of International importance in your country.