World Wetlands Day

- how will you Celebrate?

Download our Eels and Ladders game - colour it in then play the game!



World Wetlands Day is held on February 2nd every year to celebrate the 1971 adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian City of Ramsar.  

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2017 is: Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction

It was selected to raise awareness and to highlight the vital roles of healthy wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones on communities, and in helping to build resilience.

Coastal wetlands act as a natural protective buffer. They helped avoid more than $625 million in damages from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Inland wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding. During the dry season, they release the stored water, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages.

Wetlands can also speed up the recovery and help to “build back better” after a disaster, acting as natural water filters and nutrient restorers. After a 1999 cyclone that hit Odisha in eastern India, rice paddies that were protected by mangroves recovered their food production much more quickly than croplands without the buffer.

In Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka where offshore coral reefs are protected through a marine park, the damage from the 2004 tsunami extended just 50m inland. In nearby Peraliya, where coral mining had degraded the reefs, the damage extended 1.5 km inland.

You can find more about how wetlands protect us from natural disasters and useful resource material on the Ramsar Website 

International photo competition - for 18-25 year olds

Get the youth snapping. Take a picture in a wetland location between 2 February and 2 March 2017 and be in to win a free flight to a Ramsar listed wetland anywhere in the world with Star Alliance Biosphere Connections! Upload it to the Ramsar website.




Find out more about the Ramsar Convention.

Bookmark our website for updates on future NWT World Wetlands Day events.


Regional Events


2 Feb 2017 Launch of new guide: Wairarapa Moana Wetlands - Sea of Glistening Waters (6 mb)


4 February 2017 Matuku Link Celebration, Auckland


4 February Estuary Fest, McCormacks Bay Reserve, Christchurch


11 February 2017 Rotopiko Wetland Discovery Trail Launch, Free Family Fun Day


11 February 2017 Launch of Te Reo o te Repo - the Voice of the Wetland, Lake Rotopiko


12 February  Waipu Lagoon visit, Bell Block, New Plymouth, Taranaki