World Wetlands Day 2023: It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, to commemorate the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the city of Ramsar in Iran, with the aim to raise global awareness of the importance of wetlands to people and the planet. Convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands, this year, the theme is “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration”, highlighting the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration, to call for actions to revive and restore degraded wetlands.

Taking only 6% of the Earth’s land surface area, wetlands are essential to all lives, but they are disappearing three times faster than forests. Over 35% of the world’s wetlands were lost or degraded in the last 50 years. In the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAA Flyway), about 45% of wetlands have been lost, and even up to 65% of tidal flats has lost in the Yellow Sea.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway is home to 50 million migratory waterbirds of over 210 species. The loss of wetlands is pushing many wetland-dependent and aquatic species to the brink of extinction, and the EAA Flyway has the highest proportion of globally threatened migratory waterbird species among all the flyways in the world.

Conserving wetlands is also crucial to us, with the ecosystem services, such as purifying water, controlling flood, storms, and erosion, providing food through agriculture and aquacultures, sustaining billions of people for livelihood, jobs and economy. We need to take immediate and effective actions to reverse the trend of wetlands loss and degradation.

There are opportunities and we need to collaborate. At the global level, the newly adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 is guiding towards long-term goals for biodiversity at all levels. The Ramsar Convention COP14 also adopted a suite of resolutions to foster wetland conservation.

At the regional level, the EAAFP Flyway Site Network is expanding to 152 sites, covering some important wetlands for migratory waterbirds. EAAFP Partners, site managers and experts from Working Groups and Task Forces are contributing to strengthening relevant policy and its implementation, site management, monitoring and research, and CEPA. The Regional Flyway Initiative, in collaboration with Asian Development Bank and BirdLife International, will mobilize large-scale financing to support the protection, maintenance, and restoration of wetlands in the EAA Flyway.

In the coming EAAFP’s 11th Meeting of Partners which will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia between 12th and 17th March, 2023, our Partners and collaborators will be actively discussing ways to address threats and restore wetlands, strengthen conservation efforts, promote collaboration, and expand the network.


Press released by our partners:

WWT: WWT unveils blue recovery vision with World Wetlands Day mural

Wetlands International: Why wetlands are so important for both nature and climate

Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea: International Days

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals: Statement by Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) on World Wetlands Day 2023

Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds: Statement by Dr. Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) on World Wetlands Day 2023

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