Cobourg Peninsula - Australia's first Ramsar wetland. Photo - Elizabeth McCrudden
World Wetlands Day is recognised as a United Nations International Day of Importance, celebrated around the world each year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.
Since 1997, World Wetlands Day has been used to:
- raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits
- promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
Join in on the day. Attend a seminar or festival, help with a revegetation project, go on a bird walk, and discover the many ways that you can take action in your own home and in your community.
This year’s theme, ’It’s time for wetlands restoration’, highlights restoration projects in progress across Australia’s diverse wetlands to regenerate wildlife habitats, improve water quality and build more climate resilient landscapes.
Local communities are at the heart of wetland restoration - planting, weeding and surveying wildlife to ensure our wetlands continue to provide fresh water, critical habitats and effective carbon storage.
To learn more, check out Wetlands Australia and subscribe to receive the upcoming 2023 edition.
The stories in Wetlands Australia show the good work that people across the nation are taking to value, understand and protect Australia’s amazing wetlands.
The role of wetlands
Wetlands are important for water security, wellbeing and culture. They play a role in:
- clean water
- water supply
- ecosystem resilience
- sustainable livelihoods and jobs
- biodiversity conservation
- storm protection
- carbon storage
- climate change adaptation
- health and well-being
- tourism and recreation
For further details:
Australia was one of the 5 founding nations to sign the Convention. We also designated the world’s first Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar wetland) under the Convention. This was the Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory, in 1974.
Australia continues to play an important role. We help manage and implement the Convention, internationally, in the Oceania and in Australia.
Australia has 67 Ramsar wetlands, covering every state and territory. They cover more than 8.3 million hectares.
Iconic Australian sites include:
- Kakadu National Park (NT)
- Roebuck Bay (WA)
- Gippsland Lakes (Vic)
- Moreton Bay (Qld)
- Blue Lake (NSW)
- Macquarie Marshes (NSW)
- Coorong (SA)
Worldwide, there are 170 Contracting Parties to the Convention and over 2,400 listed Ramsar wetlands.
Ramsar Secretariat resources
The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has developed a number of downloadable World Wetlands Day materials for 2023, including posters, a power point presentation, fact sheets and logos. These materials can be found on the Ramsar Convention Secretariat’s World Wetlands Day 2023 website. Groups and individuals are encouraged to adapt these materials for their own World Wetlands Day events and activities throughout the year.