Message from Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, for World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, marking the date in 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar, drawing attention to the importance of wetlands. The theme for 2016, “Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods” brings the focus on the vital role of wetlands for the future of humanity and their relevance towards achieving the new Sustainable Development goals.
On this occasion, the World Heritage Centre welcomes the increasing international collaboration between the Ramsar Convention and the World Heritage Convention: 95 Ramsar Sites of International Importance are also wholly or partially located in 69 World Heritage properties, and synergies among these two site-based biodiversity-related Conventions are among the most important for site managers and national authorities. The Secretariats of both Conventions agreed in March 2012 on an “Indicative work plan for mutual cooperation”, with “Ramsar and World Heritage Success Stories” as one of the identified areas for further cooperation.
In November 2015, the General Assembly of the States Parties to the 1972 World Heritage Convention adopted a Sustainable Development policy to be implemented in all World Heritage processes, and the wise use and sustainable management of wetlands of outstanding universal value is vital for many communities around the world. Indeed, both the Ramsar and the World Heritage Conventions are designed to encourage national governments and local communities to identify special places so that these can be conserved and used sustainably for current and future generations.
For more information, see: www.ramsar.org