What is World Wetlands Day?
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day -- it marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD w...
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day -- it marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. The second, in 1998, was organized around the suggested theme of the importance of water to life and of wetlands to the supply of water. Government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community took advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. The Convention's Web site posted reports from more than 50 countries of WWD '98 activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children's art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites, and new programmes at the national level. The suggested theme of World Wetlands Day 1999 was "People and Wetlands: the Vital Link", and once again, government agencies and citizen groups at all levels seized the occasion to bring to public notice the vital importance of wetland benefits for human well-being. At wetland sites large and small, in both the southern and northern hemispheres, and even in the frozen far north, activities of all sorts were carried out in at least 60 countries on and around 2 February in celebration of the values, benefits, and beauty of wetlands. The governments of many Ramsar member countries used WWD '99 to help make their citizens aware of what they are doing to assure the health of the nation's wetlands and to implement the Convention's cornerstone "wise use principle", synonymous with sustainable use. And, at the same time, school classes, nature clubs, birdwatching societies, and park managers at the local level found imaginative ways to involve their communities and bring wetland values into public focus.