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Wetland City Accreditation


Diplomatic Note 2023/6: Wetland City Accreditation – Call for applications


Urbanization is one of the key defining mega-trends of our time. It is transforming where and how people will live in the future. Four billion people, about half of the world’s population live in urban areas today. By 2050 that number is expected to increase as more people move into cities.

Current trends in human settlement potentially pose a major threat for wetland conservation and wise use. As cities grow and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands. They are often viewed as wasteland to be converted for other purposes including being used as dumping grounds.

Yet when preserved and sustainably used, urban wetlands can provide cities with multiple economic, social and cultural benefits. During storms, urban wetlands absorb excess rainfall, which reduces flooding in cities and prevents disasters and their subsequent costs. The abundant vegetation found in urban wetlands, acts as a filter for domestic and industrial waste and contribute to improving water quality.

Urban wetlands are prize land not wasteland and therefore should be integrated into the development and management plans of cities.


Background and context

The 172 Contracting Parties to the Convention have agreed to the conservation and wise use of wetlands in their territories. Recognizing the importance of cities and urban wetlands, the Convention has introduced a Wetland City accreditation scheme (Resolutions- XII.10, XVI.10). This voluntary scheme provides an opportunity for cities that value their natural or human-made wetlands to gain international recognition and positive publicity for their efforts.

The Wetland City Accreditation scheme will encourage cities in close proximity to and dependent on wetlands, especially Wetlands of International Importance, to highlight and strengthen a positive relationship with these valuable ecosystems, for example through increased public awareness of wetlands and participation  in municipal planning and decision-making. The Accreditation scheme should further promote the conservation and wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands, as well as sustainable socio-economic benefits for local people.


Accredited Wetland Cities


Wetland Cities

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During COP14 the Convention recognized 25 cities for their efforts to safeguard urban wetlands for people and nature.

Cities accredited:

Canada: Sackville

China: Hefei; Jining; Liangping; Nanchang; Panjin; Wuhan; and Yangcheng

France: Belval-en-Argonne and Seltz

Indonesia: Subaraya and Tanjung Jabung Timur

Islamic Republic of Iran: Bandar Khamir and Varzaneh

Iraq: Al Chibayish

Japan: Izumi and Niigata

Morocco: Ifrane

Republic of Korea: Gochang; Seocheon; and Seogwipo

Rwanda: Kigali

South Africa: Cape Town

Spain: Valencia

Thailand: Sri Songkhram District



During COP13 the Convention recognized 18 cities for their protection and wise use of urban wetlands. These pioneer cities serve as examples and inspire deliberate actions for other cities towards sustainable urbanization.

Cities accredited:

China: Changde, Changshu, Dongying, Haerbin, Haikou, Yinchuan

France: Amiens, Courteranges, Pont Audemer, Saint Omer

Hungary: Lakes by Tata

Republic of Korea: Changnyeong, Inje, Jeju, Suncheon

Madagascar: Mitsinjo

Sri Lanka: Colombo

Tunisia: Ghar el Melh