World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated on 2 February each year. It marks the date of the adoption of the Ramsar 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 this opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. This day is marked through various activities which may include: the launch of new Ramsar sites, wetland policies and new programmes at the national level, lectures and seminars, nature walks, children’s art contests, community clean-up days, radio and television interviews, letters to newspapers etc.
The 2013 celebration theme is “Wetlands take care of water”, reflecting the interdependence between water and wetlands and the key role that wetlands play in water management. Without wetlands there will be no water – and without water there will be no wetlands. Therefore, wisely using our wetlands is an essential component of the delivery of sustainable water management.
This is the UN’s International Year of Water Cooperation, an occasion for all of us to look at the water challenges facing the world and some possible solutions. The WWD theme aims at addressing issues on who manages water and the many challenges from governance, agricultural and water management issues, to water storage issues and water diversion schemes. Finally, we are supposed to look at what we can all do at the local and national regional level in ensuring that wetland ecosystems and their water are well managed for the benefit of people and wildlife. We welcome all to celebrate World Wetlands Day this year on 2nd February to raise awareness about the critical role of wetlands in water management.
Dr. Judith Nyunja
Senior Research Scientist, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi - Kenya