World Wetland Day (WWD) is observed every year on 2 February across the world to raise awareness about value of wetlands for humanity and planet. This day marks the date of adoption of Ramsar Convention (also called as Convention on Wetlands) on 2 February 1971 in Iranian city of Ramsar.
For first time, WWD was celebrated in 1997. Since then it is observed annually to spread awareness about Ramsar Convention in particular for conservation of Wetlands.
Theme of is for year 2019 is “Wetlands and Climate Change”. It seeks to highlights importance of healthy and intact wetlands to one of most pressing challenges of climate change. Wetlands play critical role in storing carbon and reducing impact of extreme weather events associated with climate change. They store floodwater and protects coastlines from storm surges.
- It is land area that is saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. It is transitional land between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where land is covered by shallow water or water table is usually at or near surface.
- It may be manmade or artificial. Inland wetland may include marshes, lakes, fens, ponds, rivers, floodplains, and swamps, fish ponds, rice paddies. Coastal wetland includes estuaries, mangroves, saltwater marshes, lagoons, salt fields and even coral reefs.
- Wetlands support rich biodiversity and provide wide range of ecosystem services such as water storage, aquifer recharge, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, act as carbon sinks and others.
- It was formally known as Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat.
- It was signed in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran. It is not legally binding treaty and is not part of United Nations & UNESCO conventions.
- Its objectives are conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands and stop encroachment and loss of wetlands.
- It aims to raise public awareness on conservation, proper utilisation and management of wetlands and their resources.
- It also promotes conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation as contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout world.