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.

GEC celebrated World Wetlands Day 2011 at Raja Musa Forest Reserve, Selangor, Malaysia on February, 26th, Saturday. The event was jointly organised by GEC, Selangor State Government, Selangor Forestry Department and Kuala Selangor District Council.

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.

About the Ramsar Convention

The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971) — called the “Ramsar Convention” — is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the “biodiversity-related cluster” of treaties and agreements.

Learn more about the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands – what it is now; where it came from, and why; how it works; what countries are members, and why they joined.

See also: The introductory brochure (PDF)

The International Organization Partners

The Convention works very closely with four global non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been associated with the treaty since its beginnings and which, in Resolution VII.3 (1999), were confirmed in the formal status of International Organization Partners of the Convention. In Resolution IX.16 (2005), the Parties judged that IWMI meets the qualifications for Ramsar IOP status that were outlined in 1999 and endorsed the addition of that organization as the fifth official partner of the Convention.

The IOPs provide invaluable support for the work of the Convention at global, regional, national, and local levels, chiefly by providing expert technical advice, field level implementation assistance, and financial support, both from their headquarters units and from their national and regional offices and affiliates and from their expert networks. In addition, they themselves embody the philosophy of the Ramsar Convention and its wise use concept and support the use of the Ramsar guidelines in their own work around the world. The IOPs also participate regularly as observers in all meetings of the Conference of the Parties and the Standing Committee, and as full members of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel.

BirdLife International

BirdLife International is a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. BirdLife Partners operate in over one hundred countries and territories worldwide.   More Information »


IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries.   More Information »


The International Water Management Institute is one of 15 international research centers supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations and international and regional organizations collectively known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It is a non-profit organization with a staff of 350 and offices in over 10 countries across Asia and Africa and Headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka. IWMI’s Mission is to improve the management of land and water resources for food, livelihoods and nature.   More Information »

Wetlands International

Wetlands International is a global organisation that works to sustain and restore wetlands and their resources for people and biodiversity. It is an independent, not-for-profit, global organisation, supported by government and NGO membership from around the world. Based mostly in the developing world, there are 20 regional, national or project offices in all continents and a head office in Ede, the Netherlands.   More Information »

WWF International

WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. With almost 5 million supporters, WWF has offices in over 90 countries and can safely claim to have played a major role in the evolution of the international conservation movement.   More Information »

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