World Wetlands Day 2011


2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

Wetlands and Forests, this is the theme for World Wetlands Day 2011, especially chosen because 2011 is the UN International Year of Forests.

Our slogan is simple – Forests for water and wetlands – allowing us to look at the ‘big picture’ of forests in our lives, including:

  • Forested wetlands and the special benefits they bring. Mangroves, peatswamp forests, freshwater swamp forests: biologically diverse, helping us manage our freshwater, and providing us with many other ‘services’ across the globe including vital roles in carbon storage – our allies in the face of climate change. Despite their utility, they are often under threat from development, from drainage and conversion. 

  • The role of forests – wet or not – in our lives, and why looking after them matters. Vital to all human lives, freshwater availability on a global scale depends on our forests. So too, to a large extent, does freshwater quality. 

  • The role of forests in how our wetlands function. It’s simple: the health of our wetlands, whether forested or not, is linked to the health of forests in our catchments. Losing and degrading forests means losing and degrading wetlands. 

We cannot manage without forests, whether terrestrial forests or forested wetlands, given the critical roles that they play in our lives – for water, for food, for livelihoods, for recreation….and more.

What have we produced for WWD2011?

As in the past, the Ramsar Secretariat is distributing materials (in English, French, and Spanish) that we hope will be helpful to you in your WWD activities. The basic mailing includes:

  • Posters, comic strips  and stickers on the theme in both hard copy and in printable format on a CD. 

  • A full-colour leaflet prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Forum on Forests for event organisers to encourage and assist them in organizing WWD events that focus upon forests, wetlands and forested wetlands in their national or local setting.

  • One hands-on activity for children of all ages: a do-it-yourself dragonfly facemask (with an instruction sheet), for which you'll need glue, string, enthusiasm, and nimble fingers.

All WWD material may be downloaded here in PDF:

WWD 2011 poster (21 MB), sticker (670 KB), leaflet (30 MB), comic strips (12 MB) and facemask (3 language version).
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The first mailing of the same materials on CD-ROM with hard copy poster, sticker and leaflet has just taken place. You should allow a few weeks to receive it, and you can ensure that you receive the materials, too, by contacting the Secretariat ( - don't forget to provide your postal address and to specify which of the three language versions you would like.

We encourage everyone to consider customising and printing these materials using the original design files in Adobe InDesign, which we will be happy to supply to you on DVD. This has many advantages: making the images and text relevant to your own situation; translating the text into your local or national language; and printing many, many more copies than we could hope to supply for you; see some recent examples here. Please write to if you would like to receive the design files – and don’t forget to include your full mailing address.


The Ramsar Secretariat encourages the translation of our materials into national and local languages and the editing of materials to include a national/local perspective.
Please note:

(i) The images in all of our materials cannot be used for any other purpose without the permission of the credited photographers.

(ii) Our materials may only be used for non-commercial purposes.

40 years of caring for wetlands

As you know, 2011 is a special year for Ramsar as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary. So – whether you use 2nd February 2011 or another time during the year to celebrate 40 years of Ramsar, we hope our Ramsar countries will designate more forested wetlands as Ramsar Sites – a gift to Ramsar and themselves in Ramsar’s 40th birthday year!

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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

Ramsar Secretariat

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