World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day Quick Facts - GB

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2025 Date2 February 2025
2026 Date2 February 2026

World Wetlands Day

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World Wetlands Day History

World Wetlands Day is an annual global event that aims to raise awareness regarding the vital role of wetlands in maintaining the planet's ecological health and resilience. It event recognises the importance of these diverse ecosystems in purifying water, reducing flood risks, providing habitat for numerous species, and storing carbon, amongst many other services. By showcasing the diverse benefits of wetlands, World Wetlands Day seeks to inspire better management practices, as well as foster greater appreciation and understanding of these unique environments amongst the general public, governments, and environmental organisations.

The genesis of World Wetlands Day can be traced back to the historic Ramsar Convention of 1971, also known as the Convention on Wetlands, which was held in Ramsar, Iran. This intergovernmental treaty aimed to protect the world's wetlands by providing a framework for their conservation and wise use. The convention brought together 170 countries, signalling a strong international consensus on the vital importance of wetlands. On the 20th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention in 1991, World Wetlands Day was formally established as an annual event to be celebrated in participating countries, with the first-ever event taking place on 2nd February 1993.

In the nearly 30 years since its inception, World Wetlands Day has played a pivotal role in highlighting the significance of wetlands within the global ecosystem. Through educational campaigns, workshops, seminars, and other initiatives, the event has fostered a deeper global understanding and appreciation of these distinctive habitats. Taking place each year on 2nd February, World Wetlands Day is a key date in the calendar for all those seeking to protect and champion these precious landscapes.

Facts about World Wetlands Day

  • The theme for World Wetlands Day in 2024 was Wetlands and Human Wellbeing. The theme in 2023 was Wetland Restoration.
  • The Pantanal which is located in South America, measures over 42 million acres and is the world’s largest tropical wetland.
  • It is estimated that the wetlands in the United Kingdom once covered about 30% of the land area. Historically, many of these wetlands have been drained for agriculture, infrastructure, and urban development. Today, they cover less than 5% of the land area.
  • Peatlands, a type of wetland, are essential carbon sinks, storing large amounts of carbon in their soil. They cover about 12% of the UK and store over 3 billion tonnes of carbon.

Top things to do in the UK for World Wetlands Day

  • Go outdoors and participate in events and activities such as tree planting, bird watching.
  • Spread awareness on social media by using hashtags such as #WorldWetlandsDay or #WetlandsMatter
  • Read a book to learn more about the Wetlands:
    Wetlands of Britain and Ireland: An Ecological Overview - by Peter Agnew and Jim Webb
    The Wetlands of Britain: A Guide to their Distributions, Importance, and Conservation - by C. Paul Chapman
  • Visit the Martin Mere Wetland Centre: This wetland centre in Lancashire is another excellent place to visit. They organise activities like canoe safaris or exploration treks in the natural wetlands.

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