World Wetlands Day

Introduction and Background

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2 to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. 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.

Each year, a theme is selected to focus attention on a vital function of wetlands.  The theme for 2022, under the banner “Wetlands Action for People and Nature” is a call to take action for wetlands is the focus of this years’ campaign. It’s an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have degraded.

Wetlands are essential for human health and prosperity. They provide us with fresh water, ensure our food supply, sustain biodiversity, protect against flooding, and store carbon dioxide. As a major source of employment globally, they are also ideally placed to showcase truly sustainable livelihoods.

Why World Wetlands Day?

Nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies and more.
It is urgent that we raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid
loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them. World Wetlands Day is the ideal time to increase people’s understanding of these critically important ecosystems.

A United Nations International Day

This year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day is especially significant — as on 30 August 2021 the UN
General Assembly adopted a resolution that established 2 February as World Wetlands Day — inviting all
193 UN member states to observe the day, opening the door for greater global visibility for wetlands.

Who is behind World Wetlands Day?

The World Wetlands Day awareness campaign is organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands. Contracting Parties of the Convention on Wetlands have been celebrating World Wetlands Day
since 1997, when it was first established.

Who can join?

World Wetlands Day is open to everyone — from international organizations, governments, wetland
practitioners, to children, youth, media, community groups, decision-makers, to all individuals — as these
ecosystems are important for us all.