World Wetlands Day

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Children celebrating World Wetlands Day in Oman

World Wetlands Day occurs annually on February 2, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 when a small group of environmentalists signed an international agreement at the Ramsar Convention in Iran.[1][better source needed]

Established to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet, WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and has grown since then. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits such as conservation. Some of these benefits include: biologically diverse ecosystems that provide habitat for many species, serve as buffers on the coast against storms and flooding, and naturally filter water by breaking down or transforming harmful pollutants.[2]


Since 1998 the Ramsar Secretariat, with financial support from the Danone Group Evian Fund for Water, a variety of outreach materials which include logos, posters, factsheets, handouts and guide documents to support country activities organized to celebrate WWD, have been produced. These materials are available for free download on the World Wetlands Day website in the three languages of the Convention: English, French, and Spanish ( All the materials are also available in their design files for event organizers to customize and adapt them to their local languages and contexts. A few print copies are available to countries upon request to the Secretariat.

World Wetlands Day Youth Photo Contest[edit]

World Wetlands Day celebrations in Sri Lanka

Starting in 2015, a month-long Wetlands Youth Photo Contest that starts on 2 February, was introduced as a part of a new approach to target young people and get them involved in WWD. People between ages 15 through 24 can take a picture of a certain wetland and upload it to the World Wetlands Day website between the months of February and March.[3] Thanks to Star Alliance Biosphere Connections, the prize awarded to the winner of the photo contest is a chance to visit a wetland of their choice from the over 2200 Ramsar Sites all over the world.

Since 1997 the Ramsar website has posted reports from about 100 countries of their WWD activities. In 2016 a map of events was introduced to help countries promote their activities and to facilitate reporting after WWD

World Wetlands Day Themes[edit]

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.

2020 Wetlands and Biodiversity
2019 Wetlands and Climate Change
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


  1. ^ Society, National Geographic (2014-01-23). "World Wetlands Day". National Geographic Society. Retrieved 2019-09-26.[dead link]
  2. ^ "The value of wetlands".
  3. ^ "February 2nd: World Wetlands Day | WWF". Retrieved 2019-09-26.

External links[edit]