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. The theme for 2019 is ‘Wetlands and Climate Change’.
What are wetlands?
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. Fishponds, rice paddies, and saltpans are human-made wetlands.
Why are they important?
Wetlands provide us with water, they protect us from floods, droughts and other disasters, they provide food and livelihoods to millions of people, they support rich biodiversity, and they store more carbon than any other ecosystem. Yet, the value of wetlands remains largely unrecognized by policy and decision makers.
What is the problem facing wetlands?
- Up to 87% of the global wetland resource has been lost since 1700. We lose wetlands three times faster than natural forests.
- Wetland-dependent species are in serious decline. Since 1970, declines have affected 81% of inland wetland species populations and 36% of coastal and marine species.
What can I do to help?
- Organise an event (don’t forget to register it on the global map of events)
- Raise public awareness
- Organise a classroom discussion
- Participate in the photo contest