Worldwide activities

How did you use the anniversary year as an opportunity to place wetlands and Ramsar centre stage in your country?

Our celebrations would have had a limited impact without your help. We are a Convention of 160 Contracting Parties. A number of countries have committed to special 40th anniversary activities at regional, national and local levels, and Ramsar Secretariat staff has been travelling the world to join some of these celebrations.

AustraliaTo mark World Wetlands Day and the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention, the government of Australia published a documentation pack for Year 3 to 6 primary school teachers entitled, “Discovering wetlands in Australia – a primary classroom resource”. The documentation is also appropriate for wetlands education centres. The packs include the Ramsar video “Wetlands: keeping our planet alive and well”. Wetlands Australia plans to publish an in-depth article dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Convention in its Annual Report. 


Activities in connection with 40 years Ramsar Convention included:

  • Organization of a Special Ramsar Anniversary Celebration event on the occasion of the 1st European Ramsar CEPA National Focal Point Meeting” from 2nd – 6th May 2011 in Eisenstadt, Burgenland.
  • Austrian NGOs, together with NGOs from Slovenia and Croatia, are organizing a walk to visit the Mura River in Croatia along the Slovenian-Croatian border. Croatia is celebrating 20 anniversary of protected Landscape area at the Mura in  Medjimurska županija.  These are the largest wetland forests along the Mura River in the middle Europe. With the walk the participants are sending a clear message saying, “Mura River should remain free of dams for power stations as a part of a future International UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube”. 1000 participants are expected, among them 200 from Austria. 
  • Nature Conservation league “Hoerfeld-Moor” organizes a   torchlight walk through the area of the transboundary Ramsar site which is a restored peat bog.  See the PDF here.


Planning a TV programme series on wetlands, biological and landscape diversity, specially protected natural areas, and ecological tourism.  

In November, a film presentation will be made in Russian and English about specially protected natural territories in Belarus.
Organisation and conduction of exhibitions devoted to wetlands in Belarus and 40th Anniversary of the Ramsar Convention are planned in regional and district lore museums.  A report on the activities in 2011 in Belarus is available here.  [PDF]


The District of Aguégués in Bénin is organizing various activities from 1 to 8 February. Ramsar's Senior Advisor for Africa, Paul Ouedraogo, will take part to some of these 40th events. (PDF attached).

BotswanaOn the occasion of the 40th anniversary, Botswana plans to organize an event in Kasane on 2 February. During this event, Botswana will highlight its initiatives for the transboundary management of natural resources in the Okavango Delta. 


The Administrative Authority has translated and printed the Ramsar Secretariat’s 40th anniversary brochure and printed also a well-illustrated calendar for the 40th. In addition, for World Wetlands Day they have printed the WWD poster and sticker in Bulgarian.


Bou Vorsak, BirdLife International – Cambodia Programme shares news of the Ramsar 40th anniversary in Cambodia. Following up the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary during the World Wetlands Day 2011, on 6th and 7th August a mangrove planting event was held in the Ramsar Site located in the Peam Krasom Wildlife Sanctuary of Kok Kong Province. Participants from all sectors such as local communities, students, local administrative authorities and policy makers were present.
Additional Details are posted here.

China, P.R.

China has planned many activities throughout 2011 to celebrate the 40th anniversary including:

  • New Year cards entitled “Celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention” were designed and distributed nationwide.
  • A special film for World Wetlands Day 2011, “Forests and Wetlands”, co-produced by the State Forestry A, CCTV and WWF has been  broadcast 3 times during the Chinese New Year period (1-2 February) and is available online here
  • The State Forestry Administration (the Ramsar Administrative Authority) will designate new Ramsar Sites in 2011.
  • The 2nd China Wetlands Cultural Festival will be held in Wuxi, also an Asian Wetland Symposium at the same time in 2011 and both will have a focus on the 40th anniversary.
  • There are other activities currently under preparation by the State Forestry Administration, local government and contacts at Ramsar Sites, etc.
Czech RepublicThe Czech Republic is planning a range of activities, including a national conference on wetlands and climate change, from 2 to 5 February. 


A celebration for the Convention's 40th anniversary and a conference for World Wetlands Day were organised at the University of Senghor in Alexandria on 9 February 2011. You can watch the video (in French) here:

EstoniaEstonia plans to celebrate the anniversary of the Convention with an international conference on peatlands and wilderness areas in Tartu, from 18 to 21 April. 


Finnish celebration on 25 October 2011 in Helsinki with invited Nordic-Baltic Wetland initiative partners.

France (1)A ceremony will be organised during the 3rd Annual Meeting of Ramsar Site Managers in Camargue, site of the 1962 MAR Conference which marked the birth of the Convention. This area is also important for its recognition of the influence of the role of Luc Hoffmann in the early years of the Convention’s work. 
France (2)In 2011, a workshop at the Baie de Somme Ramsar Site will examine issues surrounding the silting up of the estuary and the future of the site. The workshop will also include a special celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention. 
France (3)As part of the events organised to mark World Wetlands Day, the government body responsible for the management of the Rhine-Meuse basin (Agence de l'Eau Rhin-Meuse) will organise a seminar devoted to examining the last 10 years of the river basin management and its future management during a special evening devoted to celebrating 40 years of the Convention. 
Hong Kong, (P.R. China)On World Wetlands Day 2011, the Hong Kong Wetlands Park will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the designation of Mai and Inner Deep Bay as Ramsar s sites and the 40th anniversary of the Convention. There are plans to organize a seminar on the “Conservation of Birds and Wetlands in Hong Kong”, along with a “Festival of Birds and Wetlands”, as the starting point for a whole series of events.


Mr Zoltán Illés, the Hungarian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs (in the Ministry of Rural Development), invited the Ramsar Secretariat to the meeting of the European Union Nature Directors, held on 7-9 June 2011 in the historical town of Balatonfüred, a traditional tourist destination at the shores of Lake Balaton, Hungary’s largest Ramsar Site (59,800 ha, designated in 1989). Around 60 participants from the high-level nature conservation administrations in the 27 EU member states, from the European Commission and a few international NGOs made good use of their biannual meeting to discuss the latest developments regarding the new EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (available here).   More info here.  


Hungary will have the EU Presidency during the first half of 2011, and will hold a celebration during a meeting of the Nature Directors from all EU countries.

IranOn 5 and 6 March 2011, Iran will host an international meeting. Invitations, signed by the Ministry of the Environment and the Secretary General of Ramsar, Anada Tiéga, were sent in October/November 2010. On 5 March, a Ministerial event will take place in Tehran. The morning session will consist of VIP presentations on the importance of wetlands and the work of the Convention. During the afternoon session, several members of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) will offer a technical take on the role of wetlands and will discuss the future role of the Convention from a sustainable development perspective. The plan is to issue a declaration from participants at the end of the afternoon. An official dinner will take place in the evening. On the morning of 6 March, participants (ministers, IPOs, members of the STRP and NGOs) will travel to the city of Ramsar where they will visit the hotel where the Convention was signed in 1971 and participate in the official inauguration of the new headquarters of the Ramsar Regional Centre in Central and West Asia. The visit will end with a trip to a lookout point overlooking the city of Ramsar and the Caspian Sea.
Japan (1)On 2 February, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment will host an international symposium on wetlands intended to raise awareness of and discuss future challenges for the conservation and sustainable use of Ramsar sites in Japan. In addition, as part of efforts to promote the rational use of wetlands, the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace, in collaboration with Wetlands International in Japan, will organize an exhibition on the benefits of wetlands, using examples of the sustainable use of specific wetlands and displaying many wetlands products.
Japan (2)Two reports have been sent from Japan for the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention. Please find a list of events organized in Japan during 2011 to commemorate this milestone, along with a PDF report.
Japan (3)Wetlands International in Japan translated the Ramsar 40th anniversary report, "Liquid Assets Ramsar" in Japanese. This report is available here in PDF.
KazakhstanThe Kazakhstan UNEP/GEF project on wetlands birds will host a workshop from 11 to 14 May on Ramsar and wetlands for neighbouring countries, to commemorate the Ramsar Convention and its 40th anniversary.

National level:
The government of Madagascar will host a 4-day event that includes a national exhibition, a presentation of awareness-raising material, and the different activities in the “Alaotra-Mangoro-Moramanga” region in collaboration with WWF, Conservation International, the Durrell Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Peregrine Fund, among others.

New Protected Area in the Mandarazo-Melaky Region:
Activities to raise awareness of the importance of reforestation, an exhibition, the creation of a nature club, cultural activities, and preparations for the listing of a new Ramsar Site in Mandarazo.

At the Ramsar-Site level:
Different activities will take place at several Ramsar Sites on World wetlands Day and throughout the year.

Manambolomaty Ramsar Site:
Traditional ceremony, official presentations by local authorities, lunch, traditional dance, site visits, exhibition, workshop, awareness-raising activities, and screening of the film “Fight against Invasive Alien Species”.

Torotorofotsy Ramsar Site:
Awareness-raising activities.

Ramsar Alaotra Site:
Screening of the film “Fight against Invasive Alien Species”.

Bedo Ramsar Site:
Establishment of a bird observation zone.

Rosivolo Ramsar Site:
Establishment of a reproduction programme for endemic fish species; re-establishment of plants on the banks of the Ramsar Site.

Malaysia (1)The Malaysian Nature Society (Ramsar CEPA NGO) will publish a toolkit on World Wetlands Day and will use it to raise awareness of the 40th anniversary. 
Malaysia (2)The Asian Wetlands Symposium will take place in Sabah from 18 to 20 July; during this event, a ceremony will be organized to mark the 40th anniversary. 
MexicoThe government of Mexico, with the support of the Americas Regional Team for the Ramsar Secretariat, will host a wetlands festival in Huatulco, Mexico from 31 January to 2 February 2011, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Convention in the Americas. Various events will be organized to raise awareness among the different stakeholders of the successes achieved by the Ramsar Convention over the last 40 years in the conservation and promotion of the sustainable use of wetlands. From 31 January to 1 February, a symposium will enable different target groups to share and exchange knowledge on progress achieved in areas ranging from field-based management to education to awareness-raising activities that have contributed to improving the state of wetlands in the Americas. On 2 February, Mr. Felipe Calderon, President of Mexico and Mr. Juan Rafael Elvira, Minister of the Environment, will preside over a special ceremony. Several well-known personalities will also be present.  


Namibia is planning a year of diverse activities associated with World Wetlands Day and the 40th Anniversary, beginning with a launch of the 40th on World Wetlands Day in the Kavango Region, and culminating in a special event in November launching a video on Namibian wetlands. Full details of their extensive plans are available here (PDF attached).


The Netherlands celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention in October 2011 with a week of activities. The Netherlands has almost one million acres of wetlands, about 27% of the total area. These areas are important for safety, because they serve as water storage during periods of extreme rainfall. Above all, they are essential for migratory birds and fish. Roelof Heringa, Project manager & International Affairs Staatsbosbeheer & Eurosite Twinning Coordinator shares the Newsletter here.

New ZealandNew Zealand launched the “Target 40” campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Rasmar Convention. The number 40 can refer variously to 40 protected hectares, 40 kilometres of new fences, 40 wetlands activities or any other appropriate ‘40’ at the local level. The hope is that local organizations/communities will take ownership of the campaign and fix their own objectives – the challenge to other organizations being to match or even improve on these actions. As part of efforts to focus activities and objectives, a thematic approach has been chosen for every month of the year, with issues selected to coincide with other key dates for the environment.


A regional celebration on 13 September 2011 at the occasion of the conference on wetlands in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region, cf. attached conference resolution.

RwandaTo mark the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention, Rwanda plans to list two new Ramsar Sites on World Wetlands Day. Later in the year, a special workshop will bring together representatives from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to discuss transboundary wetlands. The workshop is being financed by the World Bank/GEF Integrated Management of Critical Ecosystems project. 
SenegalThe “Journées du delta du Sénégal” (“Senegal Delta Days” – unofficial translation) are a series of special events being organized to mark the 40th anniversary of the Djoudj National Park in Senegal, the 20th anniversary of the Diawling Park in neighbouring Mauritania, and the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention. A conference will examine the management of the two parks from the perspective of the vegetation, fish, birds and other wild features, as well as changes in the participation by local populations and communities in the management of the parks and the role of the Ramsar Convention over the years. 
SerbiaSerbia will celebrate the 40th anniversary through a range of events:
1. The main event will take place on 2 February; it will have as its theme that chosen for the 40th anniversary, “Wetlands and Forests”. Several important actors in the conservation and management of wetlands will take part.
2. Each week, two different sites, either Ramsar Sites or nationally important wetlands, will be profiled on the website of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia. All Serbian media will be informed of this initiative and invited to raise awareness of the importance of these sites among the public.
3. The Serbian Ramsar Sites will hold events on the anniversary of their listing to raise local awareness of the importance of the sustainable use of wetlands and to raise awareness among the general public of the role of the Convention in their management.
4. During the National Ecological Festival, the “ECO FER” theme of the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia will focus on Ramsar Sites and the International Year of Biodiversity. Messages about the potential for the sustainable development of the Ramsar Sites will also be disseminated during the National Tourism Festival.  
SlovakiaSeveral activities will be organized in 2011 to mark the 40th anniversary, including:
1. An exhibition, EKOFOTOGRAFIA, in Autumn 2010 will be devoted to wetlands.
2. A special 40th anniversary ceremony will take place during the 7th European Meeting of Ramsar at the end of September 2011.
3. The international triennial ecological poster competition, EKOPLAGAT 'I (protection of nature and the environment) will take place in Zilina and will focus on wetlands (wetlands for Man, wetlands as a source of fresh water, the concept of sustainable use, etc.); the Regional Ramsar Councillor for Europe may take part in the opening ceremony in October 2011.
4. Wetlands training, in January 2011, for staff of the National Nature Conservatory of Slovakia, an organization devoted to environmental education.
5. Distribution of teaching materials on wetlands and similar programmes for schools and the public will take place on World Wetlands Day organized by the 25 divisions of the National Nature Conservatory.
6. A 2011 publication devoted to the Jaskyne Demanovskej Doliny Ramsar Site will include an introduction devoted to the 40th anniversary of the Convention.
7. A special edition of the publication ENVIROMAGAZINE (published in Slovkia by the Slovak environmental Agency) will be devoted to Ramsar and wetlands in 2011.
SpainIn addition to activities planned around World Wetlands Day on 2 February, the Spanish Wetlands Centre (Centro Español de Humedales) plans to organise awareness-raising activities at the Centre and in different towns and cities around the country. A volunteer environmental programme, “Get Wet for Wetlands”, will be launched as part of efforts to encourage citizen participation in ecosystem conservation; an audio-visual media campaign, “Spanish Wetlands”, will be inaugurated to raise awareness of environmental issues among rural populations. Through the eyes of the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), viewers will be able to visit, in high definition, one of the most iconic Mediterranean wetlands.  
SudanIn Sudan, the Ramsar Administrative Authority, the Superior Council for the Environment and Natural Resources, the National Forestry Cooperation, the UNESCO Office, SUDNATCOM, the Society for the Conservation of the Sudanese Environment and the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources will celebrate Ramsar and wetlands on World Wetlands Day through television programmes and a one-day awareness raising workshop.


Societe Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles is hosting Tobias Salathe, Ramsar Senior Advisor for Europe, as guest speaker on the "40 Years of Ramsar." The event will be held Wednesday, 5 October, 2011 at 18h30 at the Aula du Palais de Rumine, Place de la Riponne 6, 1005 Lausanne.

For more information please see:


WWF Turkey has produced a 40th anniversary calendar with information on each of Turkey’s 13 Ramsar Sites and has translated, printed and distributed Ramsar’s Ecosystem Services Fact Sheets. This work was done in collaboration with the Administrative Authority in Turkey who made their photo archive available for the publications. Available here in PDF

TurkmenistanThe Ramsar Administrative Authority (as reported by Eldar Rustimov, NFP) is planning a campaign for the 40th on World Wetlands Day 2011 entitled "A water drop is a golden coin". 


Roy Gardner of the US National Wetland Committee and a member of the Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel will work with the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy to produce a special issue on the Ramsar Convention in March 2011. The following topics are anticipated:

*Introduction/Foreword from the Ramsar Secretariat
*Forty years of global implementation – and challenges for the future 
*Forty years of national implementation of the Ramsar Convention
*Guiding wetland policies: the strength of an adaptive STRP
*State obligations and non-compliance in the Ramsar system
*Responding to emerging challenges: H5N1 and the Ramsar Convention
*Use, conflict and management within a Ramsar Site: the case of the Lukanga Swamps, Zambia

WhereInternational Organization Partner (IOP) & other NGOs
AustraliaAs a ‘special’ for Ramsar’s 40th the Wet & Wild online competition, run by the Wetlands Environmental Education Centre located at the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Australia, will use the theme Wet, Wild and Living in a Ramsar Site during their two sessions in July and October. More information on Wet & Wild here.
UK - ScotlandWetlands International Board of Management meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 22-24 February, will be used as an occasion for a special 40th celebration. Although not finally decided this will either be included at the start of the meeting or there may be an opportunity to so something as part of the Ministerial Reception at Edinburgh castle.
SwedenIn collaboration with four of the Convention's IOPs (International Water Management Institute, IUCN, WWF,  and Wetlands International) and with Conservation International and TNC, the Ramsar Secretariat will hold a symposium entitled Ramsar at 40: a global framework for water and ecosystem solutions during World Water Week in Stockholm in August 2011. 
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