World Wetlands Day 1998 in Sweden
What is World Wetlands Day? At the 19th meeting of the Standing Committee, in late October 1996, World Wetlands Day was officially designated for 2 February of every year, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, as an opportunity for governments, organizations, and citizens to undertake big and small actions intended to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
This page is part of a series of reports on activities held on and about WWD '98 in various countries of the world, as reported to the Bureau. If you should know of any other activities not mentioned on these pages, send us a note (email@example.com) and we'll add it to this list.
Not much was happening in Sweden on this WWD, and Torsten Larsson of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency explains why:
As far as I know, World Wetland Day (2 February) has been celebrated twice by now. Representing a northern country I have to say that it is not easy to catch the interest of the media on a matter like this in the middle of the deep winter. In spite of the fact that there is a genuine wish among relevant authorities and NGOs to give attention to wetland birds and wetland conservation, we cannot expect this occasion to significantly increase awareness about Ramsar on our latitudes as long as WWD takes place in February.
I cannot recall how the day was chosen but maybe it was a result of discussions held down under in Brisbane in 1996. I realize that whatever day is chosen, half of the world will have to celebrate it during wintertime. And I assume that it would not be very practical to split it into two days, one for the southern and one for the northern hemisphere and have a Half-World Wetland Day....
Anyway, since this issue has been discussed in our national Ramsar Committee, I felt I should inform you about the problem that we face. It is a pity that the prospects for celebrating this day in Sweden are so gloomy, but I have no solution to offer. Probably we have to live with the fact that WWD never will be what it could have been in our region.
Maybe we could exchange some views on this when we meet in Riga in June.
Kind regards, Torsten (Torsten.Larsson@environ.se)