World Wetlands Day is to raise awareness of the urgency of reversing the accelerating loss of wetlands and to promote their conservation and restoration. The day marks the date of the adoption of the "Convention on Wetlands of International Importance".
Wetlands are ecosystems, in which water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life.
Alhough they cover only around 6 per cent of the Earth’s land surface, 40 per cent of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands. Wetland biodiversity matters for our health, our food supply, for tourism and for jobs. Wetlands are vital for humans, for other ecosystems and for our climate, providing essential ecosystem services, such as water regulation, including flood control and water purification. More than a billion people across the world depend on wetlands for their livelihoods – that’s about one in eight people on Earth.
Wetlands are among the ecosystems with the highest rates of decline, loss and degradation. Wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests and are Earth’s most threatened ecosystem. In just 50 years — since 1970 — 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost.
This vicious cycle of wetland loss, threatened livelihoods, and deepening poverty is the result of mistakenly seeing wetlands as wastelands rather than lifegiving sources of jobs, incomes, and essential ecosystem services. A key challenge is to change mindsets to encourage governments and communities to value and prioritize wetlands.
Click here for more information on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2024, United Nations