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World Wetlands Day

Published: 7th Feb, 2022


World Wetlands Day is observed every year on February 2 all over the world. It is celebrated to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.

  • The year 2022 commemorates the 51th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, celebrated annually as World Wetlands Day.


About Wetlands

  • Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. 
  • Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. 
  • Coastal wetlands include saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons, and even coral reefs. Fishponds, rice paddies, and saltpans are human-made wetlands.
  • On this day, environmentalists and community protectors come together to celebrate their love for nature. 
    • This is done through seminars, exhibitions, and special on-ground campaigns.

History of World Wetlands Day

  • February 2, World Wetlands Day is the United Nations International Day of Importance when the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was signed on 2 February 1971 to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits. 
  • It was also aimed to make the world’s population aware of the conservation and wise use of wetlands. 
  • The day was founded as initially five nations signed the Convention, but today over 170 nations are signatories to the Ramsar Convention and there are over 2,400 listed Ramsar wetlands, including in India.

Ramsar Convention

  • The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement promoting the conservation of wetlands.
  • The Convention was adopted at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Almost 90% of the UN member states are part of the Convention.


  • In 2021, the world wetlands day is celebrated under the following theme ‘Wetlands and Water,’ highlights the importance of wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages action to restore them and stop their loss.
  • In 2022, the World Wetlands Day is celebrated under the following theme “Wetlands action for people and nature”.

Significance of wetlands

  • Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
  • The wetlands have a major role in water security. 
    • They provide a barrier against natural disasters such as flooding. 
  • They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower.
  • They nurture complex ecosystems. They prevent soil erosion and help fight against climate change.
  • The wetlands act as carbon stores. They act as one of the best sinks for greenhouse gases, especially carbon monoxide.
    • 30% of land-based carbon is stored in peatland (a type of wetlands).

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