The Convention’s CEPA Programme




A beautiful spiral painting recounting in words and pictures the gifts from wetlands. This was part of a World Wetlands Day 2007 celebration at the Nakaumi Ramsar Site in Japan. Read more here.

Wetland campaigns are powerful awareness-raising tools. In this part of the mini-Web site, we look at three broad types of  campaign – community-based projects that encourage hands-on activities in wetlands throughout the year, campaigns associated with a particular annual event in the wetland calendar, and issue-based campaigns. Whether they are sustained campaigns or one-day efforts each year, they often take people into their local wetlands and show them they can make a difference.

Community-based campaigns can bring a sense of ownership of local wetlands to people living and working nearby. Engaging people in practical activities in their wetlands is especially effective in achieving this. Whether it's monitoring water quality in local streams, cleaning up beaches or counting frogs, these campaigns demonstrate to local people that individually and collectively they can do something to monitor and improve the health of their local wetlands. Here are some Web-links to successful community-based campaigns in a number of countries – but let us know of other examples from your part of the world.

Launched in 1995 in France by the European Rivers Network to promote clean rivers, this campaign is now an international event including numerous actions - such as a series of transboundary swimming days on different European water basins. Educational events on the theme of water quality or river restoration are always held during these actions.

One of the best examples of the event-based campaign is of course Ramsar’s World Wetlands Day! But there are many others. Here are a few event-based campaigns to start with – but please tell us of other success stories that you know of in your part of the world.

We want to develop this section of the mini-Web to include other kinds of campaigns - forexample, we have information that's recently been sent to the Bureau of an issue-based campaign in Colombia to conserve manatees and their coastal habitat.  So please tell us your ideas of effective campaigns that could be included.

It's a perennial problem with the Internet that some Web sites come and go while others go on forever (like the Ramsar Web site!).  While we will do everything possible to keep the links up to date, if you find one below that no longer works, please let me know (


Event-based Campaigns

Ramsar's key public celebration of wetlands each year, World Wetlands Day takes place on 2 February to mark the date of the signing in 1971 of the Convention on Wetlands, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.  From modest beginnings in 1997, the first WWD, when 27 countries reported at least one special activity, now more than 85 countries are usually involved and more than 250 separate activities take place in most years. Check out the the programme and reports section for each year.
Brisbane's major annual community and environmental festival celebrating their waterways and culture by focusing on the city's signature natural landmark, the Brisbane River. it has a broad cultural focus incorporating art, environmental science and sport underpinned by a strong sustainability message.
Celebrated on 29th June each year, Danube Day is an opportunity for the 81 million people in the 13 main Danube countries to celebrate a cleaner, safer river after 11 years of international collaboration to manage the river. Activities on this day also encourage peoples' involvement in deciding how the river should be used in the future.
A campaign promote clean rivers in Europe - includes diverse activities such as a series of transboundary swimming days on different European water basins. Educational events on the theme of water quality or river restoration are always held during these actions.
"World Rivers Day" is celebrated on September 25th each year. BC Rivers Day in western Canada is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world, attracting up to 75,000 people annually. It is used to highlight the many values of our waterways, to increase public awareness, and hopefully, to encourage the improved stewardship of rivers around the world.

World Water Montoring Day

On October 18, citizens of the global communityare invited to join in World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), a worldwide opportunity to positively impact the health of rivers, lakes, estuaries and other waterbodies. Volunteer monitoring groups, water quality agencies, students, and the general public are invited to test four key indicators of water quality: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.

International Year of Rice - 2004

FAO took the lead in developing the 2004 UNEP theme - their aim was to highlight the vital role that rice plays in agriculture, food security, the environment, culture and science. Their Web pages dedicated to this theme were such a great source of information on every aspect of rice, a vital food crop, which feeds more than half the world's population while providing income for millions that we've decided to keep this link!.
World Environment Day Established in 1972, World Environment Day is organised by UNEP with a different environmental theme each year. UNEP produces an information kit with key facts, poster, news realease and other materials. The link on the left leads to WED2004; to view previous themes go here.
Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Programme A partnership between the Caribbean Conservation Corporation and the Volvo Ocean Adventure increases awareness about sea turtles and the marine environment during the round the world Volvo Ocean Race. Teachers are provided with a free educator’s guide to help them develop an internet-based project  satellire-trackingprogramme.

Coral reefs and Earth Day

Events organized each year allow divers and other marine/coastal enthusiasts to celebrate Earth Day (22 April) while raising awareness and taking action to protect their coral reefs, oceans, lakes, rivers, and beaches.
Project AWARE Foundation As part of the Annual International Clean-up Day,  hundreds of thousands of water lovers of all ages come together in September each year in support of the aquatic environment. They collect enormous amounts of debris from beaches, rivers, lakes, waterways and oceans. In  2002, almost a million divers and beach lovers in 100 countries took part.

Community-based Campaigns

Sandwatch Sandwatch seeks to modify the lifestyle and habits of children, youth and adults on a community-wide basis and to develop awareness of the fragile nature of the marine and coastal environment and the need to use it wisely. It is an educational process through which school students and community members learn and work together to critically evaluate the problems and conflicts facing their beach environments and to develop sustainable approaches to address these issues.
Clean up the world An NGO in Australia with a mission to "To inspire and work with communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment." Although working primarity at the national level, they also have an international campaign which has 570 members worldwide.
Revive our Wetlands A landmark partnership between Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and BHP Billiton, this campaign  is addressing the degraded state of 100 of Australia’s high priority wetlands. CVA will coordinate more than 14,000 volunteer days on Revive projects contributing $1 million worth of practical assistance to wetlands revitalisation. BHP Billiton is providing $1.5 million in funding and additional in-kind support to implement and evaluate the program over a three-year period from 2001 to 2003. Latest news: this partnership has just been renewed for the period 2004-2006 with a further $1.5 million in support - the revival goes on!
Protect Your Waters Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers is a US-based campaign along with an information-packed web site to empower recreational users of the aquatic environment to become part of the solution in stopping the transport and spread of "aquatic hitchhikers" -  animal and plant species that are accidentally introduced to marine and freshwater ecosystems and sometimes become invasive species.
Waterwatch Australia A nationally organised community-based water monitoring project. Details available on how to start your own water watch programme

Groups and individuals all over the UK are given the opportunity to adopt their favourite stretch of coast and take part in beach clean-ups and surveys to monitor coastal pollution.

Adopt-a-Beach An all-volunteer effort dedicated to preserving and protecting Texas beaches. Since 1986 more than 239,000 volunteers have helped clean up a 200-mile stretch of Texas coastline
WETNET A cooperative school water monitoring programme in which students gather water quality data in their local area for use in classrooms and by industry, government agencies, private groups, or virtually anybody who is concerned about water quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed and beyond.
Give Water A Hand A national watershed based education programme in the US designed to involve young people in local environmental service projects. Young people team up with educators, natural resource experts and committed community members to study water issues and take action!
Missouri Stream Team A network of citizens who are concerned about Missouri streams provides an opportunity for all to become involved in stream conservation. Stream Teams often adopt a backyard stream - open to any interested citizen, family or organization.
Turning the Tide A partnership of public authorities, landowners, locally-based companies and local communities, Turning the Tide is a coordinated programme of inter-linked projects to improve the 18-kilometre Durham coastline.
UK Wildlife Watch by Kids A project run by a whole range of conservation organizations, wildlife magazines, BBC wildlife shows, that involves children surveying wildlife throughout the country. The first survey of 2001 is a frog survey .
Frogwatch-Ontario Frogwatch-Ontario is an amphibian monitoring programme for community members of all ages.Volunteers record information about the location and abundance of frog species by listening for their calls in the spring and early summer.
Greenwing Adopt-A-Class A campaign with a difference! Ducks Unlimited (Canada) invites corporate and private sponsors to adopt-a-class (and its teacher!). Once adopted, the class is supplied with materials so that these young students and their teachers can be introduced to the fascinating world of wetlands.

Issue-based Campaigns

Blue Flag Campaign The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to almost 2900 beaches and marinas in 24 countries across Europe and South Africa in 2003. Owned and run by the independent non-profit organisation, Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), the Blue Flag is a symbol of high environmental standards as well as good sanitary and safety facilities at the beach/marina. The Campaign includes environmental education and information for the public, decision makers and tourism operators.
Protect the manatee

Protege Al Manatí

A campaign to conserve manatees aimed at fishermen, schoolchildren and the public by a Colombian NGO, CORMAGDALENA.

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

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