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World Wetlands Day Focuses on Water Management

2 February 2013: As a contribution to the UN International Year for Water Cooperation, the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) focused the celebrations of this year's World Wetlands Day on wetlands and water management. The Day aims to show the interdependence between water and wetlands and the key role wetlands play.

World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated globally every year on 2 February to raise awareness of the vital role healthy wetlands play in sustaining life and its diversity. This year's WWD aims to highlight the importance of conserving and enhancing the ecosystem services provided by water and wetlands. Its slogan is "wetlands take care of water."

In his message to mark the Day, Anada Tiéga, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, underlined that this year's celebrations provide an opportunity to raise awareness among water managers that "wetlands are not competitors for water but rather they are essential components of water infrastructure, providing a clean source and store of freshwater."

Also to mark the Day, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), stressed that wetlands are natural infrastructure that "help us manage water problems, and in doing so, provide multiple benefits beyond water itself."

In preparation for the Day, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wetlands International and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) secretariat, launched the report "The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands."

The report urges a major shift in attitudes to wetlands and urges recognition of their value in delivering water, raw materials and food, as well as their role in maintaining people's livelihoods and the sustainability of the world's economies. [World Wetlands Day Website] [UNESCO Press Release] [IWMI Press Release] [Ramsar Secretary General's Message] [CBD Executive Secretary's Message] [[IISD RS Story on TEEB Report] [Publication: The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands] [IISD RS Story on Draft TEEB Report]