The Ramsar Convention , or 'Convention on Wetlands' aims to promote and protect wetlands throughout the world. To date, wetlands are the only type of habitat in the world to have a dedicated international convention.
The Ramsar Convention was first signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. Today, it covers thousands of wetlands throughout the world, providing protection and recognition to over 120 million hectares of internationally significant wetlands. Australia became a signatory in 1971, and now has
more than 60 Ramsar sites, covering an area greater than the size of Tasmania.
The original intent of the Ramsar Convention was to protect water bird habitats. The convention has broadened its scope to include the protection of all wetlandbiodiversity and the 'wise use' of all wetlands.
What is World Wetlands Day?
2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It 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 since 1997, 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 in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. From 1997 to 2005, the Convention’s Web site has posted reports from more than 90 countries of WWD 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 programes at the national level. Government agencies and private citizens from all over the world have sent us their news, often with photographs, and these annual summaries and 680+ individual reports, with more than 1000 images, make an excellent archive of ideas for future celebrations.
And each year since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat, with generous financial assistance from the private sector Danone Group, has offered a new selection of posters, stickers, videos, pocket calendars, leaflets and information packs free of charge and has suggested a unifying theme for the benefit of those who wish to use it. Here is a general guide to both the annual WWD index pages and the reports of each year's activities.