World Wetlands Day 2012


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.

17/01/12 |
Read the Secretary General's message for WWD 2012 (PDF).

Wetland Tourism: A Great Experience

The World Wetlands Day theme for 2012 is Wetlands and Tourism and is linked to the theme for the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties, COP11: Wetlands, Tourism and Recreation, which will take place in July 2012, in Bucharest, Romania.

Wetland tourism has benefits both locally and nationally for people and wildlife – benefits such as stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems. At least 35% of Ramsar Sites around the world record some level of tourism activity and this percentage is consistent throughout all regions. Of course it is important to consider tourism in all wetlands – not just those designated as Ramsar Sites – since the Contracting Parties to the Convention are committed to managing all wetlands.

It is worth noting that tourism is only one of the services that wetlands deliver. Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to the health of the world's wetlands and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.

To date, the Ramsar Convention has not had a specific focus on wetlands, tourism and recreation.

What have we produced for WWD2012?

In partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), we have created a brochure for WWD 2012 on wetlands and sustainable tourism, and how tourism can benefit Ramsar Sites and all wetlands.

We have also produced a poster, a flipbook, a comic, and a sticker, all aimed at providing information on wetlands and tourism for you to share and customise.

Poster, 6 MB, PDF
Children's Activity Flipbook (7MB)
Comic (7MB) (ZIP file)
Sticker (500 KB)
Brochure (ZIP, 12 MB)

Customisation of Materials

We hope that you are inspired by the theme of Wetlands and Tourism for WWD 2012 and that you will share with us what you are planning in the coming months.

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.

Please send your customisations, WWD reports, photographs and event summaries to us at

The first mailing of the same materials on CD-ROM with hard copy poster, sticker and brochure 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.


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. 

Since its inception, the production and distribution of materials for World Wetlands Day have been financially supported by the Evian Project funded by the Danone Group.

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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

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