Wetlands support us all

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What is it about?

Wetlands provide a great diversity of essential ecosystem services that benefit all humankind, rich and poor, developed or developing country, urban or rural. Provision of food (fish, shellfish, plants such as rice) is an obvious ‘service’ but there are many more. Water purification, storage and supply of freshwater, flood control and storm protection (through coral reefs, mangroves, saltmarshes), availability of firewood and building materials, and other services such as nutrient recycling, recreation – all benefits we depend upon wherever we live.

What the Convention does

Ramsar tools assist in recognising wetland ecosystem services. Publications such as the Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Wetlands and Water Synthesis report by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Ramsar Secretariat’s fact sheets on Wetland Ecosystem Services provide tools for those working for wetlands to explain the need to conserve wetlands because of their support for human life. 

What needs to be done next?

More concerted work on valuing wetlands and all their services at national level to convince decision-makers and the general public what is to be lost by not caring for wetlands.

What's new?

As part of their 40th anniversary and WWD celebrations the Ecosystem Services Fact Sheets produced by the Ramsar Secretariat have been translated into Turkish by WWF Turkey (Ramsar’s NGO CEPA Focal Point) working in collaboration with the Ramsar Administrative Authority, Wetlands Division, Ministry of Environment and Forests. PDF versions are available here.

Coming soon: the fact sheets are currently being translated into Chinese by WWF China (Ramsar’s NGO CEPA Focal Point).

An interesting web site, www.teebweb.org, highlighting the global economic benefits of biodiversity, the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and drawing together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward. 

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The Convention today

Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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