World Wetlands Day at GTOS


Global Terrestrial Observing System

Global Terrestrial Observing System :: INFORMATION NOTE

Recent developments from GTOS, 2 February 2007

Happy World Wetlands Day 2007 from GTOS!

The World Wetlands Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, and provides an opportunity to raise awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

The theme for the 2007 World Wetlands Day is “Fish for tomorrow?” in recognition of:

- the needs of the one billion people who rely on fish as their primary source of animal protein;

- the state of the world's fisheries where 75% of commercially important marine and most inland water fish stocks are either currently over fished or being fished at their biological limit, and where the effects of unsustainable aquaculture practices on wetland ecosystems are of growing concern;

- the important role that inland and coastal wetlands play in supporting fish and fisheries at all levels, from large-scale, commercial fisheries to subsistence fishers, and from wild, capture fisheries to farmed fish; the critical role that coastal wetlands play as spawning and nursery areas for many marine species; and the urgent need for effective management of fisheries and the wetland ecosystems that support them;

- the adoption in November 2005 by the Ramsar Convention of a resolution and annexed guidelines on the conservation, production and sustainable use of fisheries which commits the 153 Contracting Parties to the Convention to playing their role in establishing and maintaining sustainable fisheries in wetlands.

GTOS joins the Ramsar community in celebrating the World Wetlands Day by reaffirming its commitment to support the activities of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, within the framework of the Ramsar/GTOS Memorandum of Cooperation signed on 13 June 2006 by Peter Bridgewater, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, and Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Natural Resources Management and Environment Department.

The GTOS Programme Director, John Latham, takes this opportunity to recall that a Partnership on Wetland Mapping and Inventory has been launched by FAO, through the Coastal Panel of the Global Terrestrial Observing System (C-GTOS), and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), an International Organization Partner of the Ramsar Convention, at the Globwetland Symposium organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) on 19-20 October 2006 in Frascati, Italy. At the launch, Dr Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, spoke in strong support of this important initiative for the Ramsar Convention. This initiative is specifically designed to support the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and other Biodiversity-related Conventions (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Migratory Species) with the objective to promote and improve wetland mapping inventories for monitoring and assessment at multiple scales through:

  • development of a collaborative and distributed network of excellence to harmonize, support and undertake global wetland mapping, inventories and monitoring;
  • promotion of standards and methods for improved wetland-related data collection and information access;
  • encouragement of synergies among Conventions, observing systems and assessment initiatives on wetland-related issues; and
  • establishment of capacity-building initiatives at national and regional scales.

The Partnership's objective will be exemplified by highlighting the initial three key-result areas:

1) Wetlands Mapping, Inventory, and Monitoring Core Network;
2) Development of Wetlands Classification System Module in the Land Cover Classification System (LCCS-WCSM);
3) Wetlands Mapping and Inventory Information Network and Online Resources Center.

The GTOS Secretariat welcomes application from potential partners highlighting that the partnership is open to countries which are Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention; Biodiversity and conservation-related MEAs and IGOs; NGOs and Networks; Representatives of industry and scientific, academic and other organizations; and appropriate private business. A preliminary outline of the justification, mission, objectives and key-result areas of the Partnership was provided for discussion at the 13th Meeting of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Gland, Switzerland, 30 May - 2 June 2006) and is available here ( For further information and/or application, please contact the GTOS Secretariat by e-mailing

Additional information

World Wetlands Day 2007 – index page

This link provides access to informative and awareness-raising material for celebrating the 2007 Day, including the leaflet ( on fisheries and the Ramsar Convention, produced in conjunction with the Fisheries Department ( of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Sea Around Us Project.

Useful links (alphabetical order)

FAO Fisheries Department
Globwetland Project
Globwetland Symposium
IWMI www.iwmi.or
Memorandum of Cooperation between GTOS and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands,
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Ramsar STRP,


Ø Cooperazione Italiana
Ø European Space Agency
Ø Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

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2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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