Wetlands are among the world’s most diverse productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation. Wetlands are also essential for biodiversity: though wetlands cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.
However, wetlands as the most threatened ecosystem. According to the World Heritage and Ramsar Conventions, 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since the beginning of the last century. In most regions across the world, wetlands continue to decline compromising the benefits that wetlands provide to people. According to the Global Wetland Outlook, we lose wetlands three times faster than natural forests. Therefore, the conservation of wetlands is a vital task of humanity, which can help achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” is the theme for World Wetlands Day 2024.
This year’s campaign spotlights how interconnected wetlands and human life are — with people drawing sustenance, inspiration and resilience from these productive ecosystems. Importantly, the theme for 2024 underscores how all aspects of human wellbeing are tied to the health of the world’s wetlands. It calls on each of us to value and steward our wetlands. Every wetland matters. Every effort counts.
Musonda Mumba, Secretary General, Convention on Wetlands
Wetlands and people are life interlaced. Wetlands are central to our well-being. Whether it be through the provision of clean water, acting as the source of food or protecting us from extreme weather events, healthy wetlands equate to our wellbeing. World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2 February. The commemoration raises awareness and increases people’s understanding of the critical importance of wetlands. In every corner of the world, human beings have depended on wetlands for centuries, drawing sustenance, inspiration and resilience from these important environments.
Despite the numerous benefits that humans receive from wetlands, every day wetlands are damaged by human beings. Wetlands are being destroyed by unsustainable agricultural practices which are a primary cause of wetland loss through drainage and infilling. Many wetlands, particularly those near cities, have also been polluted by human activities and recently further degraded by plastic pollution, which exacerbates the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution ultimately affecting human health.
Current trends in human settlement also pose a major threat to the conservation and wise use of wetlands in and near growing cities. As cities grow and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands and these are disappearing three times faster than forests. Hence, we need to stop the ongoing destruction and encourage actions to conserve and restore these vital ecosystems.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands invites you to join the World Wetlands Day celebrations on 2 February 2024. The theme for the day is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”. With only six years left to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030, there is an urgent need to act now.
For World Wetlands Day 2024, I invite you to take action in three ways:
- Make conscious choices to stop polluting wetlands;
- Join the global effort to conserve and sustainably manage wetlands; and
- Take part in wetland restoration efforts locally.
Grethel Aguilar, Director General, IUCN
Discover More on Wetlands
Make your World Wetlands Day Pledges
This year, the organizers of World Wetlands Day launched the opportunity to post personal pledges related to the theme ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’. All pledges will be posted on the Pledges Wall. → Share your thoughts about WWD 2024 on the website and use the #Wetlandsandpeople hashtag across social media!
Activities in Geneva and beyond for World Wetlands Day will be listed here. For more information on events organized by local actors, you may consult dans ma Nature Genève.
4 February 2024 | Eaux-Vives Lagoon
4 February 2024 | Eaux-Vives Lagoon
The Geneva Environment Network attended the event Des étangs en ville: à quoi ça sert? at HEPIA. Check out highlights and photos of the visit of the urban pond and of the discussion!
The Role of Geneva
As a global hub for environment governance and the host region of the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands, Geneva is key place to protect wetlands and reverse the trend of global loss of wetlands. Many organizations are active in the region to conserve wetland areas locally and globally. Learn more about the importance of wetlands and the role of Geneva in our update below.