Home Editor's Pick World Wetlands Day: Action for People and Nature

World Wetlands Day: Action for People and Nature

On August 30th of 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 75/317, which proclaimed February 2nd of every year as World Wetlands Day. Thereby making 2nd February 2022 the first-ever World Wetlands Day.

What is World Wetlands Day?

World Wetlands Day is a United Nations international day, aimed at raising awareness among people about wetlands. Its objective is to understand the influence and positive production that Wetlands have had on the world and in terms bring communities together for the benefit of Mother Nature.
World Wetlands Day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on the same day in 1972, in Ramsar Iran.

What are Wetlands?

As per the definition of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), wetlands are areas where “water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season”.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands comprises both natural and man-made sites including lakes, swamps, marshes, mangroves, salt pans, tidal flats and reservoirs.

Significance of Wetlands

Wetlands ecosystems are important components of the hydrological cycle, are highly productive, support a diverse range of biodiversity, and provide a variety of ecosystem services including water storage, water purification, flood mitigation, storm buffers, erosion control, aquifer recharge, microclimate regulation, and aesthetic enhancement of landscapes, all while supporting a variety of recreational, social, and cultural activities.
Several people rely on wetlands for food and water as well as their livelihood. Some wetlands also help to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as flooding and extreme weather events. Wetlands are also among the world’s most important carbon sinks, and their preservation can help reduce carbon emissions.
Currently, 46 wetlands in India have been declared as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar convention, with a surface area of over a million hectares.

World Wetlands Day 2022 – Theme

The theme of the first World Wetlands Day is ‘Action for People and Nature’. The theme highlights the importance of actions that ensure that wetlands are conserved and sustainably used. It’s an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have degraded.

Wetland Conservation efforts in India

In India, attempts to restore wetlands began in 1987, and the government’s primary focus was on biological conservation approaches rather than engineering solutions. A national wetland mapping project has also been launched as part of an integrated conservation strategy. It is encouraging to see the government, non-governmental organisations, and local communities working together to maintain our wetlands and achieve the Ramsar Convention’s goals.
The National Committee on Wetlands, Mangroves, and Coral Reefs, which was formed to advise the government on appropriate policies and strategies for wetlands conservation and management, has designated 93 wetlands as top priorities for conservation and management.