World Wetlands Day

Introduction and Background

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2 to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

Each year, a theme is selected to focus attention on a vital function of wetlands.  The theme for 2016, under the banner “Wetlands for our Future” is “Sustainable Livelihoods” and was selected to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the current and future wellbeing of humanity and to promote the wise use of all sorts of wetlands.

Wetlands are essential for human health and prosperity. They provide us with fresh water, ensure our food supply, sustain biodiversity, protect against flooding, and store carbon dioxide. As a major source of employment globally, they are also ideally placed to showcase truly sustainable livelihoods.

This Year’s Activities

Each year a theme is selected to focus attention on a vital function of wetlands. This year’s theme was “Sustainable Livelihoods” and Barbados joined with the rest of the world in celebrating World Wetlands Day. School tours of Consett Bay were conducted to highlight the theme and to highlight the importance of the fisheries sector to Barbados especially, in this, our 50th year of Independence. Livelihoods from fishing highlight the importance of our coastal ecosystems.

Unfortunately, wetlands are often not viewed in a positive light, even though these ecosystems contribute to sustainable livelihoods, enabling people to make a living, in addition to offering coastal protection.