World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. It also marks the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. World Wetlands Day was celebrated for the first time in 1997.
Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction is the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2017. Wetlands play an important role in reducing the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the water stored, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages.
The frequency of natural hazards has more than doubled; the majority are climate and weather related. According to UN- Water, 90% of all natural hazards are water-related. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts even more extreme events going forward as a result of climate change.
However the general public are largely unaware of how wetlands safeguard us. In fact, people often see wetlands as wasteland; something to be filled in or converted to other uses. Scientists estimate that at least 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900.
- Wetlands are a natural safe guard against disasters and help us cope with extreme weather events.
- Well managed wetlands ensure communities are resilient and can bounce back from disasters.
- Take actions that help conserve and promote sustainable use of wetlands.
How Can I Get Involved?
- Organize a visit to a Wetland in your area.
- Organize or join a wetland clean-up.
- Use water more sparingly and avoid toxic products that drain into wetlands.