World Wetland Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning. Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have acted to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. Each year since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided materials so that government agencies, non-governmental organizations, conservation organizations, and groups of citizens can help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. Within ten years, the Convention’s Web site had posted reports from more than 95 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 programmes at the national level.
The Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014, drawing attention to the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors to work together. Over 800 activities were reported from around the world, with over 100,000 participants.
The 2018 year’s theme – ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’ – highlights the important role that wetlands play in urban environments.