The 2nd February every year is the World Wetlands Day. It marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on the same day, in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. Each year the Ramsar Convention selects a theme and produces material which raise awareness on different aspects of wetland values, functions or management. This material  is disseminated world wide. Each country can customize the Ramsar material, add national or regional information or can simply create their own.

In this section of the website we try to collect information on the activities organized by Mediterranean countries to celebrate the World Wetlands Day. We are as interested in large scale activities as we are in small, regional ones. We hope it will act as a source of information and inspiration for all Mediterranean countries, organizations and entities. Please feel free to share with us any activity, picture or idea you may have for this very special day.

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World Wetlands Day 2013

Theme: Wetlands and Water Management

MedWet Mediterranean adaptation of the Ramsar poster

Wetlands play a major role in the availability and quality of water. They are integral components in the hydrological cycle and contain most of the water utilised to meet human needs. Water resource management is largely dependent on the hydrological functions of wetlands and equally wetland ecosystems need a minimum amount of water to maintain these functions. The wise use of wetlands is essential for the delivery of sustainable water management that also promotes sustainable economic and social development.

The theme and slogan selected for WWD2013 aim to raise awareness on the interdependence of wetlands and water, to highlight ways to ensure the equitable sharing of water between different stakeholder groups and to emphasize that without wetlands there will be no water. It also aims to bring to the forefront issues of water governance and the fragmented, sectoral way in which they have largely been managed as well as the issue of transboundary water management.

Read the Ramsar Secretary General’s message for WWD 2013

Material available by the Ramsar Secretariat: Poster, stickers, brochure, children’s hands on activity, comic.

Material available by the MedWet Secretariat: English poster, French poster

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Mediterranean activities for WWD2013 celebration

If you wish to send us information on your WWD2013 activities, please send a report to info@medwet.org

Albania: A round table was organised jointly with the FYR of Macedonia, in Ohrid for the Joint Watershed Management Committee Secretariat for Ohrid and Prespa lakes. A short report is available sent by our Albania Focal point Mr Fatos Bundo.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: A conference was organised in light of the WWD2013 to raise awareness on the Hutovo Blato wetland which is a Ramsar site. With a wide attendance, the debate was centered on the sustainable funding of the “Hutovo Blato Park” and the transfer of water for hydropower needs. A short report is available.

During the WWD2013 celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Conference on the Hutovo Blato wetland During the WWD2013 celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Conference on the Hutovo Blato wetland During the WWD2013 celebration in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Conference on the Hutovo Blato wetland

Ramsar Poster in BulgarianBulgaria: The WWD2013 poster was translated in Bulgarian by the NGO Green Balkans and was disseminated to numerous stakeholders like the regional inspectorates of the Ministry, other NGO’s and the Directorates of Bulgarian Nature Parks. Activities for children were organised in many Bulgarian towns by various organisations like the East Aegean Sea River Basin Directorate, the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds, the Vrachanski Balkan and the Persina Nature parks. Exhibitions and artistic ateliers were also organised and a competition was held by the Museum of Natural Science in Burgas together with Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation for the design of informational material for the Atanasovsko Lake- a Bulgarian Ramsar site. A report is available.

Cyprus: Radio and TV talk shows were organised, where representatives form the Ministry spoke about the importance and state of Cyprus’ wetlands.

France: a large number of activities from guided visits to exhibitions to tasting sessions of wetlands products took place, which attracted a large number of participants despite the cold temperatures. In the PACA region, Languedoc-Rousillon and Corsica a total of 3350 participants including 633 schools and 1754 members of the general public were involved. To mention two of the diverse activities that took place there was an open day in the eco-museum of Fortin in Corsica and an art and photographic exhibition in an abandoned building next to the Villeneuve salinas. A first report in French is available.

Greece: The activities organised involved wetland walks and organised birdwatching for the public as well as activities for young people and presentations about the importance of wetland conservation in locations like the Katogi-Strofylia wetland complex, the Nestos Delta and Prespa.

BirdWatching in the Strofylia wetlands for WWD2013. Photo Credit: D. Mamassis BirdWatching in the Strofylia wetlands for WWD2013. Photo Credit: D. Mamassis

Jordan:  A festival was held in the Azraq wetlands reserve where over 150 local community members stakeholders and school students attended. The participants were engaged in touristic activities that gave them the experience of wetlands tourism including hiking, bird watching, eco games, and short interactive workshop about Wetlands. A report is available.

Montenegro: the WWD activated the process for the designation of a new Ramsar wetland in the country. More information is pending.

Serbia: The WWD was celebrated at the Provincial Institute for Nature Protection in Novi Sad, jointly organised by three Ministries and other state organisations. The event was very successful and was attended by representatives of many ministries, expert houses, managers of protected resources and non-governmental environmental organizations involved in wetland conservation. A report is available.

Slovenia: Apart from the activities organised by wetland associations, TV coverage of the WWD2013 allowed the message to be widely heard. It should be noted that walks were organised along the MuraRiver with the participation of the Ramsar secretariat to bring attention to the need for and importance of the future UNESCO “Mura-Drava-Danube” Biosphere Reserve, an ambitious transboundary site for the protection of what is called the “European Amazon” between Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. More information on the Ramsar website.

Spain: Various activities were organised by wetland associations and management bodies as well as Autonomous municipalities mainly centred on wetlands education for school students and guided visits. More information on the Ramsar website.

F.Y.R. of Macedonia: Joint activity with Albania. Albanian report available.

Tunisia: The WWD2013 was celebrated through a meeting attended by relevant state organizations, associations and other organizations involved in conservation, university students and the media. During the meeting the three new Ramsar sites inscribed in the list in 2013 were presented one of which is the Lake of Tunis. Also, the activities of the association for Tunisian wetlands, TunWet, were presented. A report is available.

During the WWD2013 in Tunisia Tunisian poster for the WWD2013 During the WWD2013 in Tunisia

Turkey: The WWD2013 was celebrated in all provinces by both the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (MoFWA GDoNCNP) as well as other relevant organizations. National Wetland Awards were given in three categories “Science and Research”, “Management” and “Education and Awareness”, material for children and the public were produced on the wetlands and birds of turkey and a ceremony with 350 participants was organized in Istanbul. A report is available.

The Turkish Minister Mr. Prof. Veysel EROĞLU during the WWD2013 celebration in Istanbul The award given during the WWD2013 celebration in Istanbul The Turkish wetland team

Palestinian Authority: Even though no activities were reported for WWD2013, we would like to note that the Coastal wetlands of Wadi Gaza are in the tentative list for an UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Portugal: The poster and leaflet were translated by the NGO Almargem and activities for children were organised. More information on the ramsar website.

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World Wetlands Day 2012

Theme: Wetland Tourism- A Great Experience

Wetland tourism has benefits both locally and nationally for people and wildlife – benefits such as stronger economies, sustainable livelihoods, healthy people and thriving ecosystems. At least 35% of Ramsar Sites around the world record some level of tourism activity and this percentage is consistent throughout all regions. Of course it is important to consider tourism in all wetlands – not just those designated as Ramsar Sites – since the Contracting Parties to the Convention are committed to managing all wetlands.

It is worth noting that tourism is only one of the services that wetlands deliver. Ensuring well-managed tourism practices in and around wetlands and educating tourists on the value of wetlands contributes to the health of the world’s wetlands and the long-term benefits that wetlands provide to people, wildlife, economics, and biodiversity.

Read the Ramsar Secretary General’s message for WWD 2012

Material available by the Ramsar Secretariat: Poster, stickers, brochure, children’s activity flipbook, comic.

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World Wetlands Day 2011

Theme: Forests for water and wetlands

2011 is the International Year of Forests. The Ramsar Convention took this opportunity and put the emphasis on forested wetlands like mangroves, freshwater swamp forests, seasonally flooded forests, peat swamp forests and others (Click here for more information)

Material available by the Ramsar Secretariat: Poster, stickers, brochure, comic strips, face mask

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Mediterranean activities for WWD2011 celebration

Algeria: The WWD 2011 was celebrated nationally and regionally by the forty eight wilayas (prefectures). On a national level…

Click here to access the report in French.

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The WWD 2011 was celebrated nationally and regionally by the forty eight wilayas (prefectures). On a national level, the communication material was created. Firstly, the Ramsar WWD2011 material was translated into Arabic and was widely disseminated. Secondly, the General Administration of Forests, responsible for wetlands, created a poster and brochure on the thirty years of the Ramsar Convention in Algeria which were also widely disseminated. Bigger informational banners were also created on themes like biodiversity, Ramsar sites as reservoirs of biodiversity, forest fires and others.

Media coverage: The WWD was publicized also through four radio shows in Arabic, French and Berber as well as two television shows in French and Arabic.

Regional level: The forty eight wilayas managed by the regional forest administration authorities, the national parks and hunting centers celebrated the WWD with many activities like exhibitions, awareness raising and educational sessions with students and local population, reforestation activities, drawing contests for children with an award for the best pictures and a participation present for everyone. They also did radio shows and articles in local press and focused environmental education on wetlands for younger children.

In the wilaya of Naama, a typical Saharan tent called Kheima, was set up on the edge of the Ain Ben Khellil lake which is a Ramsar site.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: The WWD2011 was celebrated through publications in the media (TV, radio and newspapers) and special school lessons dedicated to wetlands. Professor Jaroslav Vego, Ramsar/MedWet Focal point also gave a very interesting interview……..

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The WWD2011 was celebrated through publications in the media (TV, radio and newspapers) and special school lessons dedicated to wetlands. Professor Jaroslav Vego, Ramsar/MedWet Focal point also gave a very interesting interview in the newspaper VECERNJAKOV PECAT. The main celebration took place in Hutovo Blato, an important Ramsar site, on the 2nd February, thanks to the generous contribution of the WWF office in Mostar (click here for the program). The WWD gave the opportunity to celebrate not only the 40 years of the Ramsar Convention but also the 10 years of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention. Hutovo Blato became a Ramsar wetland of international importance in September 2001 and since then two more wetlands in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bardaca wetland and the Livanjsko Polje have become Ramsar sites.

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Croatia: The WWD was celebrated in two Ramsar sites Lonsko Pole and Kopatki Rit. The celebrations started on the 28th January and lasted for three days. A very interesting approach taken in Croatia is that they involve the wetland side communities in the celebrations.

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Greece: Three interesting regional activities came to our attention this year which mainly involved environmental education……

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Three interesting regional activities came to our attention this year which mainly involved environmental education:

1. Kato Zevgaraki, Agrinio: This year a very interesting regional initiative came to our attention which involved environmental education in a small school in Western Greece.  Hence, we would like to promote the important work done by Dionysios Mamasis, environmental scientist, the parents’ committee and teachers of the elementary school of Kato Zevgaraki in the Arakinthos municipality and the prefecture of Agrinio in Western Greece.

For the celebration of the WWD the School Committee of Kato Zevgaraki invited the environmental scientist, Dionysios Mamasis to inform the children and locals on the functions and values of wetlands and the need to conserve them. They spoke in particular, for the Trihonida and Lisimahia lakes which are found in very close proximity with the school and are part of the Natura 2000 network. Mr Mamassis took the opportunity of the Ramsar WWD2011 theme “Forests and Wetlands” and presented the case of the lake side forest of Fraxos-Trihonia.

2. Evros Delta: World Wetlands Day 2011 was celebrated in the Evros Delta Visitor Centre on February 2nd. Approximately, 140 children from local schools participated in the event. The day was dedicated to the riparian forests and their value for nature and man.

3. Serres: In Serres, the Serres Group for UNESCO, made a radiospot on wetlands via radio rodon and also made a presentation on wetlands and the WWD in the Natural History Museum of Serres to various visiting local schools.

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Jordan: In Jordan the WWD2011 was celebrated in the Azraq Wetland Reserve on Saturday 19th February and included a series of…

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In Jordan the WWD2011 was celebrated in the Azraq Wetland Reserve on Saturday 19th February and included a series of environmental activities. The event gathered inhabitants of the surrounding areas but also students from all over Jordan. This open day had separate activities for different age groups (from 7-10 and from 11-16) and families which involved interactive environmental games on the field, explanation of the values of wetlands, film screenings, painting and others. Also the ecotourism activities of the Azraq Reserve which combine natural and cultural values of the area were presented and promoted.

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Serbia: In Serbia the WWD2011 was celebrated in the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodin Province in Novi Sad. There were…

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In Serbia the WWD2011 was celebrated in the Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodin Province in Novi Sad. There were five presentations on wetland issues dealing with the issue of alluvial forests and wetlands, Serbian moors as well as opportunities for development of floodplains and knowledge transfer on agri-environment programs (click here for a copy of the agenda). Also there was a photo exhibition on the theme of ‘Loire-Danube’ as part of the project ‘The Danube- a living being’.

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