World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.

World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, launches of new policies, announcement of new Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and wetland rehabilitation.

World Wetlands Day 2014

The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2014 is Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners in Growth.

For millennia, wetlands have been used directly for agriculture, and for supplying food, fuel and fibre to support lives and livelihoods. Wetlands continue to play an essential role in supporting modern day agriculture. They provide water storage, flood buffering, nutrient removal, water purification and erosion control. Sustainable practices which support both agriculture and healthy wetlands are therefore coming to the fore.

The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has developed a number of downloadable World Wetland Day materials for 2014, including a leaflet, poster, comic strip and game. The Ramsar Secretary General, Dr Christopher Briggs, has also produced a video message for World Wetlands Day 2014. These materials, and more, can be found on the Ramsar Convention Secretariat’s World Wetlands Day 2014 web page.

40th Anniversary of the world's first Ramsar site, Cobourg Peninsula, NT

In 2014 the Australian Government is celebrating the 40th anniversary of Cobourg Peninsula being listed as the world’s first Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. In May 1974 Australia showed leadership and commitment to the Convention by listing this remote and unspoilt wilderness area in the Northern Territory.

Australia’s commitment to identifying and conserving its environmental assets, especially those of global significance, continues to the present day. Australia now has 65 wetlands on the Ramsar list, covering 8.3 million hectares.

Calendar of events

The Australian Government produces a web-based Calendar of Events for World Wetlands Day each year. If you have a World Wetlands Day activity that you would like advertised before 2 February 2014, please contact wetlandsmail@environment.gov.au.

Full list of World Wetlands Day 2014 events.