World Wetlands Day 2021: Wetlands are the Freshwater Sources

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Less than 1% of water on Earth is usable freshwater and it is mostly stored in wetlands. This World Wetlands Day we celebrate how wetlands are essential for water and provide for life.

This year’s World Wetlands Day shines a spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss. The world is facing a growing freshwater crisis that threatens people and our planet. We use more freshwater than nature can replenish, and we are destroying the ecosystem that water and all life depend on most – wetlands.


World Wetlands Day, celebrated each year on 2 February, raises global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet. It marks the date of adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the only multilateral environmental agreement to date that focuses solely on the conservation and wise use of wetlands, of which Wetlands International played an instrumental role. This year is the Convention’s 50th anniversary.

Check out some of the online events and activities across our network to help you celebrate World Wetlands Day.

East Africa

For the past three years, our office in Kenya and NEMA (National Environmental Management Authority) have hosted a national digital arts competition to celebrate World Wetlands Day. Entries consist of drawings, cartoons, videography, photography and paintings capturing how wetlands have affected artists’ day-to-day life. This year, five winners were selected and will be awarded prizes at a later date. The celebrations will culminate at the Sabaki Estuary in Malindi with various activities conducted before the D-Day.

South Asia

Wetlands International in South Asia is organising a virtual plenary discussion on issues surrounding wetlands and water in the South Asia region. The high-level event will see participation of representatives from government institutions, think tanks and research institutes, academia, civil society, the private sector, and media, including Hon’ble Member of Parliament Shri Suresh Prabhu. Find out more here.

Our colleagues in the South Asia office have also taken up the Live Simply Challenge, offered by environmentalist, technologist, and a social and educational reformer Dr Sonam Wangchuk, one of the panellists of the discussion. The challenge requires every individual to take pledges signifying small, everyday changes that contribute to a healthier planet, with an objective of reducing our carbon footprint totalling to a cost of $100,000 based on the net CO2 emissions. Collectively our colleagues have put together 75 pledges equalling a total of $400,000 and exceeding our goal by fourfold.

Europe and Latin America

SAVE THE DATE: Innovative solutions to Pantanal’s fires

The Paraguay-Paraná wetland is one of the world’s largest and last remaining examples of a free-flowing rivers system with significance, not just for Latin America, but for the whole of the world – from biodiversity to food production. This unique ecosystem has been ravaged by drought and fires since 2019 threatening its wildlife, water systems and public health.

This session, open to the public, will facilitate an exchange between those active on the ground and EU institutions involved in the global-facing aspects of the EU Green Deal, including measures to tackle the global biodiversity and climate challenges.

Save the date for a special EU-Latin America webinar on 22 March, hosted by our Europe and Latin America offices, building on this year’s World Wetlands Day theme of wetlands and water. Pre-register for the event here.