World Wetlands Day 2003: Activities reported for 2003


What is World Wetlands Day? World Wetlands Day has been celebrated on 2 February round the world each year since 1997. The date marks the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year, 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. From 1997 to 2002, the Convention’s Web site has posted reports from more than 70 countries of WWD activities of all sizes and shapes, from lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, sampan races, and community clean-up days, to radio and television interviews and letters to newspapers, to the launch of new wetland policies, new Ramsar sites, and new programmes at the national level.

No wetlands - no water!

Activities reported for World Wetlands Day 2003

[Note: Because of the concurrence of Ramsar COP8 in November 2002 and Standing Committee 29 in late February 2003, the Bureau has been unable until now to post plans and reports on WWD2003, but hopes are high for the coming days and weeks.]

Argentina I. The NGO Fundación Proteger and WWF's Living Waters Programme have been working together to gain Ramsar designation of the Paraguay and Paraná river floodplains, some 1.5 million hectares through 5 provinces, and on the occasion of World Wetlands Day commitments have been or are being made by Chaco, Corrientes, Formosa, Entre Ríos, and Santa Fe provinces. Jorge Cappato and his colleagues at Proteger ( have provided several press releases in Spanish and a summary in English, with photos. Nota de prensa (español).

Argentina II.Noemi Cruz y Cuerpo de Voluntarios, Area de Educacion Ambiental, Delegación Regional Noroeste, Administración de Parques Nacionales (, write: "Tal lo prometido, le estamos enviando adjuntas, para su pagina Web, fotografias de la muestra de paneles que hemos realizado con el Cuerpo de Voluntarios en el centro de la ciudad de Salta, con motivo del Dia Mundial de los Humedales. Tambien se han repartido folletines en la Plaza "9 de julio", que es la principal de la ciudad, sobre la importancia de la conservacion y problemas de los humedales." Aquí.

Argentina III. Raúl Cardielo ( writes: "El acto central del Día Mundial de los Humedales en la República Argentina se realizó en el salón de los espejos de la Municipalidad de Chascomús (Bs As). Hicieron uso de la palabra el Secretario de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sustentable de la Nación, Ing Ftal. Carlos Merenson, el Director de Recursos Naturales de la Pcia de Bs. As., Ing. Juan Duro, el Director de la Unidad de Gestión Ambiental del IIB/INTECH, Ing. Raúl Cardielo y el Director del IIB/INTECH, Dr. Alberto C. Frasch. Se presentaron videos alusivos a la celebración y los diplomas a los 1ros. PROTECTORES AMBIENTALES del país. Previo al acto central se realizó una exposición abierta sobre los humedales con la presentación de proyectos y experiencias de Instituciones Nacionales y Provinciales." Aquí.

Australia I.John Caven (, Conservation Officer, Metropolitan Branch, Field and Game Australia, Bundoora, Victoria, has sent areport of a nest-building expedition for World Wetlands Day in the city of Whittlesea.

Australia II.  Helen Aitchison (, Ramsar Officer at The Wetland Centre, Australia, reports on a grand party at the Centre to celebrate the listing of the centre and associated wetlands as part of the new Hunter Estuary Wetlands Ramsar Site. Helen has sent a report of the festivities, with a photo.

Australia III.Meredith Brownhill (, of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Australia, is organising a fun and educational bushwalk through and around a swamp in her local community in the Blue Mountains, near Sydney in Australia, to celebrate World Wetlands Day. Hanging Swamps such as this one are quite unique to the Blue Mountains and are important to the water catchment system.

Australia IV.Bill Phillips, Mainstream Environmental Consulting (, writes: "The state government of South Australia chose World Wetlands Day this year to launch what is now considered the benchmark wetland strategy in Australia." Here are the details.

Bangladesh. Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, (, Secretary General of the World Water Forum of Journalists, is the lead organiser of World Wetlands Day in Bangladesh. Teaming up with the Bangladesh Ministry of Environment and Forest, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), and the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB), a seminar entitled, "No wetlands - No water" has been jointly organised for February 2, 2003 at 9.30 am at the CIRDAP auditorium in the city. Bangladesh Water Resources Minister LK Siddiqi will inaugurate the seminar. Here's thePress Release from the World Water Forum of Journalists.

Bénin. M. Josea S. Dossou-Bodjrenou(, President du Musée des Sciences NaturellesNature Tropicale, rapport que le Musée a organisé certaines manifestations pour marquer l’événement. Il s’agit d’une journée «Portes ouvertes» au Musée avec entrée libre et visite guidée gratuite pour le grand public. Cette initiative a été soutenue par l’Agence Béninoise pour l’Environnement (ABE) qui est le Point Focal de la Convention de Ramsar au Bénin, le Centre Béninois pour le Développement Durable (CBDD), le Comité Néerlandais de l’IUCN et le Secrétariat de la Convention de  Ramsar. Ici un petit compte rendu sommaire 

Bolivia. Ana Alicia Eid (, Communications Coordinator, WWF Bolivia, Santa Cruz, sends a brief report of the launch of the new Pantanal Information Center in the city of Puerto Suarez, jointly inaugurated by WWF and the National Service for Protected Areas (SERNAP). WWD festivities included an interactive puppet show and other activities for school groups (photos included).

Brazil.Maria Carolina Hazin (, Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Diretoria do Programa Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, writes: "The Brazilian Administrative Authority jointly with the governmental CEPA national focal point are coordinating the project Wetlands Awareness-Raising at the National Park of Lagoa do Peixe (Ramsar site), National Park of Araguaia (Ramsar site), and Ecological Station of Carijós (an important wetland area), to celebrate WWD2003. With financial support from the Society of Wetland Scientists, planned activities are addressed to children who will join us in a half day programme to experience wetland ecosystem and understand conservation initiatives and importance. In each natural area 30 to 40 children will express themselves by drawing and writing poetries on what they've learned and understood about wetland ecosystem after visiting the field in a guided tour. The material produced by the children will be published with an instructive introduction and then will be distributed for school children at the vicinities of these areas and other Ramsar sites."

Bulgaria.Radostina Tzenova (, Bourgas Wetlands Project, reports: "This year the celebration was very special for all nature conservationists in the Bourgas Lakes region because we celebrated the announcement of five new Ramsar sites. That is why, in cooperation with the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB is a  BirdLife International partner in Bulgaria), we organized different activities in the region. The main event was on February 2nd – a celebration in BSPB’s Nature Conservation Center "Poda". More than 70 people came here on this cold, snowy day – students, teachers, members of BSPB, friends of the wetlands, etc." Her full report, with photos, is available here.

Cameroon. Ateba Dieudonné Xavier (, Directeur Exécutif National du Volontariat Pour l'Environnement (VPE) nous écrit: « A l'occasion de la célébration de la journée Mondiale de la Convention sur les zones humides, le point focalau Cameroun pour la société civile, assuré par notre ONG Volontariat Pour l'Environnement (VPE) a retenue comme activité "un week-end écologique avec les élèves et étudiants pour l'aménagement des étangs piscicoles et la sensibilisation sur les activités liées à ces zones". Celle-ci a lieu ce samedi 01 Fevrier 2003. »

Canada. Randy Milton(, Ramsar STRP member from Canada, writes “in association with World Wetlands Day on February 2, a National Conference on Canadian Wetlands Stewardship will be held in Ottawa, February 3-5, 2003. Hosted by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council (Canada) and the Federal Wetlands Forum, the primary objective of this conference is to facilitate consensus and definition of new directions for wetland stewardship and management in Canada over the next decade.  The conference agenda focuses on dialogue and joint discussion to chart a policy direction for wetland stewardship.  Recommendations will be derived through facilitated sectoral working sessions.  The publication "Wise Use of Mires and Peatlands" launched at Ramsar's COP8 will have its Canadian launch at the event on February 4 by the President of the International Peat Society. Detailed conference information is posted on the NAWCC (Canada) and Canada Stewardship Portal web sites: and

Chile I.Diego Luna Q. (, Coordinador General CAACH, writes: "Estimados amigos de RAMSAR: Se adjunta PROGRAMA de actividades de la Corporación Ambientes Acuáticos de Chile, CAACH, en la Región de Coquimbo, CHILE, para el Día Mundial de los Humedales. Agradeceremos vuestra colaboración en lo que a difusión se refiere."

Chile II. Elier Tabilo Valdivieso (, Centro Neotropical de Entrenamiento en Humedales, writes: "Julio, te envio un informe con las actividades de celebración del día de los humedales en la region de Coquimbo en Chile. Te adjunto un informe y un folleto del evento, que fue organizado y ejecutado por la CONAMA Region de Coquimbo (OG), Corporación Ambientes Acuaticos de Chile (ONG), Centro Neotropical de Entrenamiento en Humedales (ONG), Tongoy Acción Ecologica (ONG) y la Compañía Minera Los Pelambres. Agradecere puedas ayudarnos a dar a conocer en la pagina web de la Convención en la parte relacionada a la forma como cada pais conmemoro este día." See them here.

Chile III. Maria Sotil Campos ( writes from Iquique: "Te escrivo porque conseguí la foto que apareció en el diario el lunes 3 de febrero, junto a la nota periodística de nuestra presentación, allí aparece Roxana Aguirre, guarda parques de la CONAF (corporación nacional forestal), junto a algunos de los niños que participaron en el concurso de dibujo infantil,en la actividad se entregó 3 diploas por categoría menores de 5 años, menores de 10 años y mayores de 10 años, ademas de recuerdos para todos los participantes que consistieron en rebanadas de tamarugo un a´rbol protegido por la CONAF en la reserva pampa del tamarugal." More here.

Chile IV.José Luis Brito M., Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales y Arqueología de San Antonio (,, writes: "Adjunto información sobre las actividades de celebración del Día Mundial de Los Humedales En San Antonio y Santo Domingo, en el Humedal El Yali." Here it is.

China I.Leikun ( in the Convention's AA in Beijing has sent us the text of the WWD address by Zhou Shengxian, Vice Chair of the National Committee of Greening and Administrator of the State Forestry Administration, which presents an excellent summary of China's progress in and commitment to wetland conservation and the implementation of the Convention. Here it is.

China II. "To celebrate the World Wetlands Day 2003, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the People's Republic of China, has organized a series of programme including Wetland Eco-tour and workshop held at 10 Hong Kong wetland sites (, Junior Bird Watching Race held at Mai Po Nature Reserve, Wetland Origami Competition and workshop, and World Wetlands Day Celebrating Ceremony held at Hong Kong Wetland Park to raise the public awareness on wetland conservation in Hong Kong. Totally, about 6,000 people have participated in these activities." Details and photos here.

China III. Wetlands International - China reports on WWD activities in Yueyang City where the Ramsar site Dongting Lake is located: "2003 is the 19th year of environmental education for youth on conservation of Dongting Lake. In January the Wetland Branch of the Yueyang City Association of Environmental Protectionists together with 18 schools celebrated the 7th World Wetlands Day by starting and educational action aimed at local people. School students disseminated 20,000 flyers on why and how to protect wildlife, especially waterbirds. Key words were: No poaching, No killing, No selling, No buying and No eating."

Colombia I.Leonor Martinez Sierra, Coordinadora Servicio Educación Ambiental (, Facultad Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas, Universidad de Narino in San Juan de Pasto, writes on 31 January: "Este domingo celebraremos el día mundial de los humedales. Gracias a los documentos y el afiche que nos enviaron, haremos comunicados de prensa escrita, radio y emisión del video sobre la Convención de los Humedales, a traves del canal 32 - Telepasto, de nuestra Universidad. Además, dicho video se usará para foro-videos con algunas comunidades y ONG's. En abril haremos un Seminario titulado 'Conservación, manejo y recuperación de caudales hídricos'."

Colombia II.María Rivera G ( writes "Para celebrar el día mundial de los humedales, organizamos un foro nacional para los días 27 y 28 de febrero. El objetivo es presentar todos los proyectos de humedales que se financiaron en el marco de la política nacional de humedales a través del subprograma de inversiones ambientales (Crédito BID), algunos proyectos financiados por ustedes (Humedales para el futuro) y algunas experiencias de algunas ONG´s como por ejemplo la de los Platillos. Este evento será instalado por la Ministra y después te dare los pormenores. En el evento se entregará un Cd con todos los proyectos financiados el cual voy a enviarte junto con todo las publicaciones referentes a los planes de manejo y demás cosas que te debo.

Colombia III. Lorena Franco ( nos informa de las actividades llevadas a cabo por la Fundación Humedales para el Día Mundial de los Humedales, en la Laguna de Fúquene, Cundinamarca, Colombia. Pueden ver su informe, incluyendo fotos, aquí.

Costa Rica. Dr Enrique J. Lahmann (, Director Regional, UICN-Mesoamérica, reports that Costa Rica has adopted a World Wetlands Day envelope and cancellation, with a wetlands stamp (right).

Democratic Republic of Congo.Shimbi Luketa ( writes: "Journee mondiale des zones humides 2003 celebree par nous a Kinshasa, dans les Communes de Matete et de Limete avec les decideurs, le public en general et les eleves auxquels nous avons adresse les deux messages concernes. Rapport sur nos responsabilites, nos activites et nos difficultes dans le domaine de la Convention vous parviendra incessamment par voie postale."

Denmark. Marianne Linnemann ( of the National Forest and Nature Agency at Oxbøl State Forest writes: "At Oxbøl State Forest we also celebrated The World Wetlands Day 2003 in the area of Skjern River, which is running out in Ringkøbing Fjord. The Skjern River restoration project is managed by The Danish Forest and Nature Agency and managed by Oxbøl State Forest. The restoration project finished in December 2002 and has changed 2200 ha intensive agriculture fields to 2200 ha wetlands and changed 19 km diked Skjern River Kanal to 27 km meandering river. The World Wetlands Day was celebrated together with the local nature and culture historical museum and The Danish Ornithological Association. The weather in Denmark that day was really awful. It was very windy and very cold. We had arranged a guided walk. Even though the weather was so bad 20 people turned up. So we were satisfied and it looked like the participants had a good experience."

Ecuador. Blga. Olga Quevedo(, Ramsar's government contact in that country, sends a summary of WWD2003 activities there, in Spanish (and all in caps).

Egypt.Injy Galal (, National Information Officer, MedWetCoast - Egypt, sends this brief summary of the World Wetlands Day Media Campaign held in Burullus.

Eritrea I. J. K. Tiwari (, of Seawater Farms Eritrea, has provided a brief report with photos of WWD activities at the Farms.

Eritrea II.Haile Amanuel ( reports on a World Wetlands Day excursion to Green Island Massawa, with photos, here.

France I.Cécile Birard ( of the Fédération des Parcs naturels régionaux de France, has sent a PDF file with the note: "je vous prie de trouver ci-joint le communiqué de presse et le programme des évènements organisés à l'occasion de l'anniversaire de la signature de la Convention de RAMSAR". Planned activities at 15 inland wetland natural parks are outlined, and local contacts provided. The press communiqué is Julie Le Bihan, Animatrice du pôle-relais "zones humides intérieures".

France II. Under the theme "Les zones humides: connaître, évaluer, gérer, sensibiliser" (Wetlands: knowledge, valuation, management, awareness), a colloquium was organized by the Water Management Authority of the Artois-Picardie basin at the Conference Palace of Lille. This conference, in honour of World Wetlands Day, brought together more than 400 people: students, technicians, reserve managers, water engineers, administrators, local and regional councilors, and others. Here is a brief report of the proceedings.

France III. Communiqués de presse Bretagne Vivante - SEPNB. "Bonjour, pour votre information et celle de vos cyber lecteurs par votre aimable diffusion. Merci. A bientôt," Jean-François Robic, Chargé de Développement et de Communication, Bretagne Vivante - SEPNB, Lorient, courriel:, site internet :

France IV. A l’occasion de la Journée Mondiale des zones humides, le Parc naturel régional de Camargue a organisé (1) la découverte du marais de Ginès: une visite commentée sur les richesses d'un marais - vie animale et activités humaines (durée: 2 heures) à 10 h et à  14h30 ; et (2) à la Maison du parc (située aux Saintes-Maries de la Mer), des informations sur les zones humides et la convention de Ramsar : vidéo, plaquettes d'information...etc.

France V. Renaud Dupuy de la Grandrive(, Conservateur de la réserve Naturelle Nationale du Bagnas, ADENA (Association de Défense de l'Environnement et de la Nature des pays d'Agde) écrit que "Malgré un froid intense en raison d'un vent du nord particulièrement glacial, l'ADENA, gestionnaire de la réserve naturelle nationale du Bagnas a pu accueillir samedi matin 1er février 2003, pour la Journée mondiale des zones humides, une quinzaine de personnes passionnée par les richesses des lagunes littorales méditerranéennes." Ici un petit compte rendu sommaire.

France VI. Coralie Hermeloup (, Chargée de la communication, Tour du Valat Station Biologique, nous a envoyé une communiqué de presse, diffusé à 9 journalistes et aux partenaires de la station en Camargue. La station a organisé, le 2 février 2003, des portes ouvertes sur le domaine de la Tour du Valat.

France VII. Le Conservatoire du Littoral( rapport dans leur bulletin, que "Dans le cadre de la Journée Mondiale des Zones Humides (2 février 2003), le Département de la Somme, le Conservatoire du Littoral, la Fédération des Chasseurs de la Somme et le SMACOPI ont signé une convention d'objectifs en faveur de la gestion concertée pour la préservation des espaces naturels sur les domaines terrestre, maritime et les zones humides du littoral picard. La condition de réussite du Conservatoire du Littoral - établissement public national - chargé de l'acquisition d'espaces de nature, dépend des partenariats qu'il établit progressivement sur l'ensemble des côtes de France depuis sa création en 1975. Dans la Somme, le Conservatoire du Littoral a rencontré une volonté forte et concrête de préservation de patrimoine naturel côtier dês les années 80. Si le partenariat entre le Département de la Somme, le Conservatoire du Littoral et le SMACOPI est ancien (la première convention date de 1982), il n'en est pas moins innovant. En effet, le troisième accord partenarial signé le 2 février 2002, lors de l'inauguration de la Maison Ramsar de Blanquetaque, s'inspire directement des conclusions du rapport de Louis Le Pensec pour la rénovation du Conservatoire du Littoral, commandée par le gouvernement en 2001."

Gabon. Nicaise Rabenkogo (;, coordinateur, Groupe de Travail sur les Zones Humides (GTZH)nous a envoyé le rapport final  de l'atelier sur l'eau douce et les zones humides, organisé à l'occasion de la célébration de la journée mondiale des zones humides du 02 février 2003.

Georgia I. Keti Chomakidze(, PR Officer for the ICZM Centre in Georgia, reports on a host of activities and materials organised both nationally, through a TV programme (which included the broadcasting of the Ramsar video translated into Georgian), and locally, with a focus on stakeholders around the Kolkheti wetlands, a coastal Ramsar site in Georgia. Here's a brief report of their activities, with photos.

Georgia II. George Magradze, International Coordinator of the Greens Movement of Georgia (Friends of the Earth - Georgia) (, with support from the ICZM Centre in Georgia, organised a series of seminars in 3 regions of west Georgia, variously targeted at schoolchildren and teachers, NGOs, local government administrators and the media. Brief report here, with photo.

Haiti. Yves Robert Personna (, Consultant UM0-PAE, Ministère de l'Environnement, writes: "La République d'Haïti a célébrée grandiosement cette année la journée mondiale des zones humides. Le Ministère de l'Environnement (MDE) et le Projet d'Appui à la Mise en Oeuvre du Plan d'Action pour l'Environnement du Programme des Nations Unies pour l'Environnement (PNUD) en Haïti ont réalisé des activités conjointes en cette journée." More here.

India I.Dr. Rathin Barman (, Vice President, Aaranyak, in Assam, writes: "We are organising two full day programme to host world wetland day 2003. On 1st February a day long interaction workshop is being organised at Guwahati University where resource people will interact with students and researchers on the importance of wetlands, wetland value, wetland classification, wetland and birds with special references to North East India. On day second, 2nd February, participants of day one programme will be taken to Deepar Beel Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a wetland ecosystem and also a Wetland of International Importance." ( e-mail:,

India II. Dr Anish Dua ( of the Zoology Department of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India, reports here on a WWD of university students to the Harike Ramsar site and viewing of the Ramsar video.

India III. Lalit(, writing on behalf of YOJANA, an NGO from Orissa State, writes that World Wetlands Day was celebrated at Puri, the district headquarters of Chilika Lake, a Ramsar site and a recent winner of a Ramsar Award.  75 NGO representatives joined an awareness rally that moved around the town to generate awareness for the protection of Chilika Lake. A meeting was organised to highlight the importance of the day. The local message was “Save Chilika & Save Fresh water”. The NGOs of the district resolved to carry forward the message into the villages and combine wetland and freshwater conservation in the meetings that they will organise throughout this year.

India IV. Dr P S Hari Kumar (, Centre for Water Resources Development & Management, Calicut, Kerala, India, writes that the “Centre has celebrated this year's World Wetlands Day on Feb 1 by holding rallies, street drama and awareness campaign. The following themes were included for this year: Save Cannoly canal (a canal of 11 KM constructed across Calicut City, now has become a place for solid and liquid waste dumping), Save Kottuli Wetland(A wetland in the heart of City) etc.” Brief report, with photos.

India V. The H & H. B. Kotak Institute of Science, Grahak Suraxa Academy and the Centre for Environment Education, Rajkot, jointly organised WWD 2003 with a varied programme of activities. Making full use of meetings as well as print and electronic media, the group reckon to have contacted over 5,000 people in the Rajkot area of Gujarat to raise awareness about the value of wetlands. A leaflet about wetlands was produced in the Gujarat language and distributed to rural people and a memorandum was prepared and sent to the State as well as Central Government asking that wetlands be given protection under the Wildlife Act. A drawing and essay competition drew entries from 525 school and college students. The winning picture was painted by 16-year old Ms Aparna M. Chandarana, a standard 11 student at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Vidyalya Higher Secondary Section English Medium School. More here, with photos.

India VI.Aniruddhe Mukerjee (IAS) (, District Collector & Mission Leader, Watershed Mission, reports on WWD2003 in District Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, where village teams used the opportunity to hold awareness workshops and organize the cleaning and desilting of ponds and tanks, and removal of alien invasive species like water hyacinch, by the water users themselves, i.e. irrigation water users association, fisheries societies, women's self help groups, etc. Here is his report, with photos.

India VII. S.S. Chitwadgi, Bharat Forestry Consultancy  writes about World Wetlands Day 2003 at the Bhoj Wetland, recently designated as a Ramsar site. “authorities, NGOs, University colleges and schools gathered from morning till evening to celebrate W.W.D. on 2 February 2003. In the morning various sports for groups of all ages were arranged and from 2pm onwards, details of Bhoj Wetland were displayed for visitors’ easy viewing. The symposium began with a showing of the Ramsar video, “Wetlands, Water and Sustainability”, followed by lectures by S.S. Chitwadgi and Professors from the Indian Institute of Forest Management and the University. The Secretary of Housing and Environment inaugurated the occasion while the lady Mayor of Bhopal gave the valedictory address.

India VIII. Mr Ajit Pattnaik, Chilika Development Authority (one of the winners of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards in 2002), sends a detailed report of the many activities organised around Lake Chilika, with photos.

Indonesia. Wetlands International's Indonesia Office ( reports on a host of activities from seminars in South Sumatra Province for government agencies, NGOs and schoolteachers, to an invitation to NGOs and other stakeholders in Java to see and celebrate the success of a mangrove rehabilitation and management programme. Read more here.

Iran, Islamic Republic of. Jafar Barmaki (, from the Ministry Foreign Affairs, in Tehran reports that a ceremony was held in the Ramsar Hotel in the city of Ramsar, the location in Iran where the Ramsar Convention was first signed in 1971 by 18 countries. The participants at this present meeting, including local authorities, representatives of NGOs, Governmental authorities and experts, came together to discuss the hosting of a Regional Center on Training and Research in the city. More information here.

Ireland. Karin Dubsky of Coastwatch ( sends word of an event called "Collecting Wetland Information and wetland seminar" launched on Feb 10th 2003. Participants were asked to spend the week following WWD2003 collecting data and then contribute their information about their local wetlands to an all Ireland wetland event hosted by Coastwatch Ireland, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Northern Ireland, and The Irish Peatland Conservation Council. Here is some more info.

Italy. The Ramsar Bureau has received a letter reporting on World Wetlands Day 2003 in Italy from Dr. Aldo Cosentino, Diector General of the Direzione per la Conservazione della Natura, Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio, the Ramsar Convention's administrative authority in Italy. Here it is.

Kenya. "The World Wildlife Fund For Nature-Lake Bogoria Community Based Wetlands Project is a community-based wetlands conservation project in the Lake Bogoria National Reserve (LBNR) and its catchment. The project is aimed at maintaining the biodiversity and ecological values of the lake and its catchment, while providing improved benefits from LBNR to the local people living around it. WWD celebrations [in 2003] were undertaken in two phases: Build up activities towards the WWD and on the material day. Build up activities were undertaken during the week and included immediate actions to mitigate threats identified by the local community and other key stakeholders in the conservation of Lake Bogoria. On the material day, awareness creation and awards were given to different categories of stakeholders who had made outstanding contributions towards conservation of Lake Bogoria and its associated wetlands." More details on the lake itself and WWD activities there.

Madagascar.Simon Rafanomezantsoa (, WWF Madagascar et West Indian Ocean Programme Office, reports here (en français) on the announcement on World Wetlands Day of Madagascar's 3rd Ramsar site, Lac Alaotra, by the Minister of Environment, Water and Forests, Mr Charles Sylvain Rabotoarison.

Malawi. Hastings Maloya (, Programme Officer with the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT), has sent a World Wetlands Day article by David Nangoma from Sapitwa Newsletter, in which the message of WWD is well used to emphasize the importance of Malawi's own wetlands.

Mexico I.Nancy DeRosa ( of Villas De Rosa / Aquatech Dive Center, Aventuras Akumal, in Yucatan province, sends a few photos of diving on WWD2003 near the offices of the SAVE NGO and writes: "You can see that we still have a thriving reef system and would love to keep it!!" (,

Mexico II. W. Ulyses Huesca Tercero ( writes: "Por este medio le enviamos un informe acerca de cómo celebramos en la Reserva Estatal del Palmar el día Internacional de los humedales, para su posible publicación en la pagina web de Ramsar. Solo me resta recordarle acerca de la solicitud de material de difusión que habiamos hecho por este medio, ya que no hemos recibido atención aun. Sin más por el momento le enviamos un cordial saludo y agradecemos la atención al particular."Aquí..

Mexico III. Catherine Magnon Basnier (, Responsable del Proyecto WFF/Mex/2, writes: "Les anexo para su difusion en la pagina web del Dia Mundial de Humedales 2003 el reporte de las actividades que desarrollamos como "Amigos del Manati AC" para celebrar el Dia mundial de los Humedales. Hay que aclarar que esa exposicion es parte del proyecto de educacion y formacion: Los humedales de Quintana Roo "Tu mundo Por descubrir" que recibio apoyo del Fondo de Humedales para el Futuro y que comprende tambien un taller sobre gestion de humedales que se llevara a cabo en Chetumal en el mes de septiembre proximo.Gracias." Here it is.

Nepal.Sameer Karki ( of IUCN Nepal says: "Dear Friends, I am very pleased to send you details of how IUCN Nepal is supporting the celebration of World Wetlands Day this year." Here is the programme.

New Zealand I. Graham Ford (, New Zealand's Fish and Game Department, has sent an impressive list of WWD 2003 activities going on in many locations in New Zealand. Table of events here.

New Zealand II. Paul de Spa(, Education Coordinator at the Christchurch Environment Centre, writes that this year the Centre promoted a bus trip to Lake Pearson organised by the Department of Conservation, North Canterbury Fish and Game (see preceding entry). Participants were able to discuss the values associated with the Lake with the Department staff who gave information on the Maori and geological values of the area. Rosalie Snoyink, an expert of the Southern Crested Grebe, talked about the bird life of the Lake. An electric fishing demonstration was also performed in the Kowai River, on the way to Lake Pearson.

Nicaragua. Martín Lezama (, Departamento de Ciencias Ambientales, Universidad Centroamericana (UCA), Managua, has sent this report of the celebración día mundial de los humedales-Nicaragua: "Por favor, sirvase encontrar en archivo anexo PDF las actividades de Nicaragua."

Norway. Roy Erling Wranes(, Leader,Slettnes Birdstation, has sent us a report from what must be the northernmost WWD celebration in the history of World Wetlands Day! At 71 degrees north Roy writes "can you imagine that there are some people arranging lectures and guided tours in the dark, cold, Arctic? In an area that is further north than Alaska? In a place where snow and ice covers everything, and it seems like there is no life at all?" Read more in this full report with interesting pictures.

Pakistan I.WWF-Pakistan announces that, in honor of WWD and the International Year of Freshwater, Pakistan has identified three new wetlands sites of international importance. The three new added wetlands sites are Indus Delta (472,800 ha), Rann of Kutch (566,375 ha) and Deh Akro (20,500 ha) situated in the province of Sindh. The press release is available here.

Pakistan II. Rahat Jabeen of WWF-Pakistan reports on a WWD celebration on the bank of the River Indus at Hyderabad, organised in collaboration with a local NGO, Sindh Taraqi Pasand MallahTanzeem and the District Government. Seven local schools presented folk songs on wetlands in song and dance to an audience of more than 200 people, including invited government officials, poets, authors, journalists and others. Full report and photos here.

Pakistan III. Nasir Ali Panhwar ( of the Centre for Environment and Developing (CEAD) in Jamshoro reports that his Centre hosted a WWD celebration, in collaboration with Oxfam and the Institute of Sindhology, University of Sindh, which comprised two sessions: one for technical papers by experts and the other for poetry readings by noted poets. Here is his report, and some background on CEAD.

Panama. Eric E. Flores, Presidente de GITEC (, writes "Estimados amigos de Ramsar. Con gran entusiasmo y placer, les remitimos nuestro informe de celebración del Día Mundial de Humedales 2003, en el Sitio Ramsar Golfo de Montijo. En archivos adjuntos le remitiremos fotos del evento. Esperamos como siempre, seguir contando con su apoyo y colaboración, en nuestras actividades de fomento del conocimiento sobre los humedales y su uso racional en Panamá." Here it is.

Paraguay. Francesca de Cabrera (, CEPA programs, Fundación para el Desarrollo Sustentable del Chaco, reports in English and Español about WWD activities planned for the Paraguayan Chaco, with lots of pictures of tapirs, flamencos, vicuñas, storks, ducks, and workshop participants. Here, too: English, Español.

Perú.Daniel Lovera Davila, Instituto de Investigación de Geología (, writes of WWD at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

Philippines I. Eduardo M. Bisquera, Jr. (, Chief, Protected Areas and Wildlife Division, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, reports here on WWD activities in Zamboanga City.

Philippines II.Amuerfino Mapalo (, Protected Area Superintendent, Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Cebu, sends this brief report of the celebration of World Wetlands Day held in Olango and in some parts of the Visayas, Philippines.

Philippines III. Amy M. Lecciones(, President, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands (SCPW), reports on their WWD activities at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Center, with the theme "Celebrating Water and Wetlands - A Family Day!". Acitivities included a mini concert, an exhibit on "Urban Wetlands: Pasig River and Laguna de Bay" and a holy mass/prayer at the park's grotto. Read more here (with photos) and on SCPW's Web site at

Philippines IV. Josephine Gravoso ( writes "Greetings! Here is the report of the 2003 World Wetland's Day Celebration of DENR Region 8, Tacloban City, Philippines. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 8 celebrated the World's Wetlands Day last February 02, 2003. The celebration was set on the 3rd of February since February 2 fell on a Sunday." More details here.

Poland I. Artur Wiatr(, Head of EcoEducation and Tourism at the Biebrza National Park(BNP), reports on an educational event at the park that took place in the newly-built headquarters of BNP's “Education and Management center” on February 11 and 12. The event was aimed at pupils from five selected primary schools situated near the park and included an introductory talk and three hands-on workshops. Full report here and great photos of the children at work.

Poland II. Jolanta Gaczynska (, Warta Mouth National Park, Poland, writes of eight days of ecological workshops on wetland themes in twelve schools in the local communities and a contest in WWD poster art, won by the school from Dabroszyn. Some photos are included.

Romania. Cornelia Aftodor of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority reports that a number of educational activities were organized for students, including a showing of the Ramsar video, and she has sent along some artwork by the students from the high schools of art for the annual exhibition "A chance for the blue Danube".

Russian Federation.Alexey Kudryavtsev (, Coordinator of biodiversity programs for the NGO Tomsk Environmental Students' Inspection (TESI), Tomsk, Western Siberia, writes of plans for expanded WWD activities in Tomsk for 2003 and sends along some stunning examples of students' wetland art from their WWD 2002. Here.

Sénégal.Amadou Tahirou Diaw(, Coordonnateur du Grast, writes: "En partenariat entre l'UNESCO et les institutions nationales (Direction des Parcs Nationaux et Conseil Rural de Sangalkam), élargis à la Communauté scientifique, aux organisations des volontaires des Parcs/Réserves et au mouvement de jeunesse (Scouts et Eclaireurs, Foyer des Jeunes de Niague, etc.), la Journée Mondiale des Zones Humides a été organisée, à l'instar de la communauté planétaire, le 2 février 2003 au site du Lac Rose, dans la Communauté Rurale de Sangalkam." Son rapport ici.

Serbia (Yugoslavia).Natasa Panic (nature@net.yu), PR Manager for the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia in Beograd (, writes: "In order to celebrate World Wetlands Day, the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia organizes various happenings in order to inform the public about the values of Ramsar convention and Ramsar areas, since 1997, when this Day was founded by Ramsar Bureau. Celebration of the WWD this year was under the global motto "No Wetlands-No Water" and included the round table meeting on February 3rd, in the Special Nature Reserve and Ramsar site "Stari Begej-Carska bara" on the subject "Conservation of wetlands in Serbia". Within this subject was presentation of projects of revitalization and conservation of water regime within the three Ramsar sites in Serbia: Stari Begej-Carska bara, Obedska bara and Ludasko lake. The round table was realized in cooperation with State Secretariat for Work, Health Care and Social Care (Sector for Environmental Protection) and Secretariat for Protection and Sustainable Development of Province Vojvodina. The host of the meeting was AD Fishing Company "Ecka", manager of Ramsar site "Stari Begej-Carska bara"." Here is her report, with photos.

Sierra Leone.Emmanuel Alieu (, Director of Forests, has provided a summary of WWD2003 activities in that country, and the proceedings of a seminar for members of the National Wetland Committee in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Security in Freetown. Here it is.

Slovenia. Stanka Dsnik (, landscape architect in Slovenia, writes: "On the WWD, yesterday more then 50 people have been walked along the Mura river and their wetlands in Pomurje region, Slovenia. NGO TABRIH has organized this special educational day with visiting the area through walking more than 8 km. We have seen many interesting wetland habitats, which you can see it on the pictures below." View them here.

Spain I.Julián Mª Cano Villanueva (, Coordinador de la Ecoescuela del IES Poeta García Gutiérrez, Chiclana (Cádiz) writes: "Os mando este correo para haceros saber que en nuestro Centro, el IES Poeta García Gutiérrez de Chiclana en Cádiz (España) hemos celebrado el Día Mundial de los Humedales con una exposición sobre los humedales andaluces, realizada por nuestro alumnado de Recursos Naturales de Andalucía. Además estamos llevando a cabo el estudio ecológico de la laguna de la Paja, en nuestro municipio, que tiene una figura de Reserva Natural Concertada. Queremos profundizar en sus características y, llegado el caso, demandar un mayor grado de protección. Al final del curso, os mandaremos un resumen de este estudio. En él colabora la Delegación Provincial de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía y el Ayuntamiento de Chiclana, ademas del grupo de Ecologistas en Acción."

Spain II.Santiago Pérez Poza ( wrote: "Con motivo del Día Mundia de los Humedales, el Servicio de Conservación da Natureza de la Consellería de Medio Ambiente de la Xunta de Galicia en Pontevedra, celebrará unas actividades especiales en el "Complexo Intermareal Umia-O Grove, Lagoa Bodeira, A Lanzada e Punta e Punta Carreirón", incluído en la Lista de Humedales Ramsar. Por ello les ruego me envíen los materiales publicitarios y de apoyo elaboradas para esta fecha. Nuestra dirección es: C/ Benito Corbal nº 47-5ª planta. 36071 Pontevedra. España."

Spain III.Ostadar ( from Navarre writes: "Aquí envío dos fotos del día de los humedales." Here.

Switzerland. Christina Meissner Denham (, Chargée de Communication, Domaine protection de la nature, Département de l'intérieur, de l'agriculture et de l'environnement, Ville de Genève, writes: "Le Birdwatching du 2 février 03 a été un grand succès. Plus de 500 personnes sont venues nous rendre visite sur la rade de Genève et cela grâce à un bel écho médiatique. De l'avis de tous, nous remettrons celà l'année prochaine." More here, with photos.

Tanzania.Kathryn (, sends a very interesting illustrated essay on the first World Wetlands Day to be held on the shores of Lake Lugongwe near Utete, in Rufiji district. Guests of honour Lars Dinesen and Mzamilu Kaita from Wildlife Division Headquarters (Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism) presented the brand new 'Important Bird Areas of Tanzania' book to the District Commissioner of Rufiji. Three of the 80 important Bird Areas listed in the book are located in Rufiji District. Here's a brief report, with photos of all the kids.

Thailand. Nirawan Pipitsombat (, Senior Environmental Officer with the Office of Environmental Policy and Planning  in Thailand, sends an illustrated report about their WWD conference and exhibition in Phang Na Province and their day of activities on WWD in theThale Noi Non-Hunting Area, Phatthalung Province. The conference was chaired Mr. Prapath Punyachadrak, Minister of National Resources and Environment and who opened the conference and presented a Ramsar site certificate for the newly designated Wetland of International Importance to a representative of the provincial government. The conference also featured an exhibition of wetland products by local communities and exhibition boards on Ramsar sites and wetland values. The activities at the Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area, Phatthalung Province, included a drawing competition with a wetland theme for students, an indigenous peoples' stage presentation and the reintroduction of fish to the wetland area by a representative of the Phatthalung provincial government. More here with photos.

Trinidad and Tobago.Susan Shurland-Maharaj (, Public Relations / Information Officer of IMA in Chaguaramas, writes: "As usual, we at the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), Trinidad and Tobago, will celebrate WWD 2003 by mounting posters in our Marine Education Centre for public viewing, delivering lectures, writing articles in the press, among other activities, and generally inviting the public to share the knowledge we have gained about our local and international wetland resources. In light of this, we wish to once again request your information packages, posters and stickers to supplement our education programme. As the IMA will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2003, our public education and awareness activities will be enhanced."

Turkey. Selim Erdogan (, a hydrogeologist with the Turkish Ministry of Environment (and the National Focal Point for Ramsar and MedWet) writes that they began preparing their national wetlands strategy for 2003 - 2008 right after the COP and completed it in time to distribute the strategy as a book to all participants and stakeholders as part of their World Wetlands Day activities. Other WWD materials included a poster about Turkish Ramsar Sites, a poster for the newly launched national wetlands strategy, another for the legislation which was put into force in January 2002, and the translated version of Ramsar's WWD poster. They also prepared a calendar, a series of stickers and other CEPA materials. One of the Provincial Directorates prepared a handbag for WWD which was distributed with these diverse materials. Delivering speeches at the event were the Minister of Environment, the Governor of Ankara, and the Mayor. Presentations were also made by the Head of the Protected Areas Department, the Chief of the Wetlands Division, and Mr Erdogan himself. The Prime Minister and the President of the Republic, although unable to attend, sent messages. Despite the very wet weather in Ankara, Mr Erdogan noted that the participation was wonderful. Photos here.

UK I. Tony and Faith Moulin (,, write: "You may be interested to hear that Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) - a small UK charity based on two rural villages in North Somerset - is celebrating the acquisition of a a small wet woodland on World Wetlands Day. YACWAG has raised the funding necessary to purchase the wood from landfill tax rebate, the Countryside Agency and Transco, as well as contributing from its own funds. The wood is a very rare example of alder carr which includes 51 veteran alder trees of at least 200 years old. It is a unique remnant of wetland habitat in a landscape that is now intensively farmed. As well as the trees, the site has rare dragonflies and other invertebrates. We have chosen to celebrate on that day because we want to raise awareness of the ecological value of such "lost world" relic wetland habitats."

UK II. Sue Russell (, from the Oxford Brookes University library, reports that the library mounted a display for World Wetlands Day that included this year’s poster as well as the Cultural Heritage of Wetlands fact sheets from WWD 2002 and the Values and Functions of Wetlands fact sheets from WWD 2001.

UK III. Louise Vall (, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, has sent details on a World Wetlands Day Conference on The Multiple Roles and Uses of Wetlandsheld at the London Wetlands Centre on February 4th with guest speaker Chris Baines.

UK IV. Mary Dengler(, University of London PhD student, presented the theme of WWD 2003 'No Wetlands - No Water!'  in the form of an interactive discussion at East London's Millenium Centre in Dagenham. The public participated by offering insights about their understanding of water management conflict around the globe and asking questions about the links between wetlands and water. The Millenium Centre is the educational centre for the 84 hectacre nature reserve, largely consisting of wetland habitat. The Millenium Centre also displayed the Ramsar poster the week prior to WWD 2003.

UK IV. Amanda Atkinson ( writes: "The inaugural Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) / Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Living Wetlands award was announced at the World Wetlands Day conference at the London Wetlands Centre on February 4th. . . . The winner is the Swales and Ure Washlands project - a partnership project involving the community and industry in redressing the loss of washland habitat in the Swales and Ure valleys and creating a more diverse rural economy." Details here.

UK, Isle of Jersey.Nicolas Jouault ( of C.I.Watch reports on "World Wetlands Day February 2nd. Sunday 12.30 pm - 14.00 pm. A guided walk through the tidal seascape of La Rocque, exploring the wildlife, at the centre of Jersey's Ramsar site. Join local enthusiasts at La Rocque slip and take a guided walk along the gullies observing this unique winter habitat. Waterproof footwear and warm clothing essential. Binoculars advisable. organized by C.I. Watch."

UK, Northern Ireland. Tracy McCoey ( ), Environmental Educator at the Quoile Countryside Centre near Downpatrick, gives a very brief description, with charming photos, of a guided walk and wetland mural painting for children.

USA I.Karen Lawrence ( writes: "I just wanted Ramsar & SWS [Society of Wetland Scientists] know that we are slowly started to get people more aware of wetlands here in the Midwest (USA). We actually held 2 classes for World Wetlands day at my church, The Dundee Presbyterian Church in Omaha, Nebraska. We had 'Wetland Jeopardy' for 2-6 graders. For the pre-k & kindergarteners we had them make World Wetlands Day greeting cards (there are actually stickers available of wetlands) and give them out to parents or friends. We also read and passed out the "What is World Wetlands Day?" booklet. Everyone seemed interested and I hope to have more people involved next year. It is groups like Ramsar and SWS that really make a difference. I just wanted to say "Thank You"."

USA II. Katie Remington ( of the Sky Ranch Outdoor Education in Van, Texas, wrote: "We plan to celebrate with the three schools that will be with us during that week. We are anticipating nearly 200 students. We'd love to send the school teachers home with materials they can use to further educate their students back in the classroom as well as have them on hand for us to make our program better. We already have your stickers, but any other materials appropriate for children ages 10-12 that you could send would be appreciated!"

USA III.Jeremy M. Bell (, Project Specialist, King Conservation District, Renton, Washington, writes: "I just wanted to thank you all at Ramsar for the great educational material and posters you sent for our World Wetlands Day and Volunteer Appreciation Day. Over 25 people attended the event, where we toured a Sphagnum bog of local importance. I gave a short introduction to the work done by Ramsar and connected our event with your larger goals of global conservation of wetlands."

USA IV. Dr Mark Ford (, Director/Senior Researcher of the MSU Wetlands Station, reports that WWD activities were held with pre-school children in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

USA V. The Center for Ecological Research and Education and Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University held a World Wetlands Day celebration on 4 February 2003 in honor of the signing of the International Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran. This was the first time WWD was formally celebrated at ISU and the event was well attended by students and faculty at ISU, as well as the general public. More details and photos.

Venezuela I. Dra. Viviana Salas, Directora Ejecutiva, Bioparques, Caracas, writes: Con motivo del recién celebrado "Día Mundial de los Humedales", a continuación les enviamos información acerca de nuestra institución y de la evaluación del estado de conservación de tres sitios Ramsar de Venezuela que son parques nacionales. Anexa se encuentra una nota de prensa que fue enviada a varios medios de comunicación venezolanos.

Venezuela II.Jorge Hinestroza ( writes: "Bajo el lema "SIN HUMEDALES NO HAY AGUA", el Bloque Vecinal de la Costa Norte del Lago de Maracaibo y la Federación Ecologista del Zulia (VENEZUELA) invitan a los amantes de los humedales, ambientalistas y público en general a participar en el Foro "Los Olivitos: agua, vida y cultura" que se realizará el dia 30 Febrero de 2003, en la ciudad de Maracaibo (Estado Zulia), Facultad Experimental de Ciencias de La Universidad del Zulia. El mismo Foro se realizará el día 2 de Febrero (Dia Mundial de Los Humedales) en el Centro Cultural de la Comunidad de Ancón de Iturre, Municipìo Miranda a las 9:00 A.M." More here.

Venezuela III. Alejandro Luy(, Gerente General, Fundación Tierra Viva, writes: "La presente es con el fin de informarles que la Coordinación No Gubernamental de Comunicación, Educación y Concienciación del Público Ramsar - Venezuela con el apoyo de Fundación Tierra Viva, está organizando para la celebración del Día Mundial de los Humedales la publicación de artículos divulgativos centrados en la importancia y riqueza de estos ambientes, su vinculación con la conservación del recursos hídrico, así como sobre las principales amenazas e iniciativas para la conservación del agua." More here. 

Other. From Taiwan, Maureen Hsieh (, Manager, Public Relations Division, Guandu Nature Park, Taipei, writes: "This is Maureen from Guandu Nature Park in Taiwan. Our Park consists of wetland with numerous varieties of animals and plants. Because The Guandu Nature Park was established to help preserve the precious natural resources of this land although we haven't joined the Ramsar Organization because of some political issues. However, we still often promote the environmental education materials and message about the wetland protection to the public and the schools. In addition, the news release of 2003 Wetland Day has been released to the media from our park to remind the importance of wetland protection. We also quoted the slogan "No wetlands - no water" from the site you provide."

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