World Wetlands Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention)  on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.

This is a special World Wetlands Day, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention. The international theme of World Wetlands Day this year is ‘wetlands and water’, raising global awareness on the value of many wetlands as a source of freshwater, encouraging actions to restore wetlands and halt their loss.

World Wetlands Day 2021 logo wetlands and water

Victoria's wetlands

Victoria has 12 Ramsar-listed wetlands which means we have some of the most important wetlands in the world.

  • Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people have used wetlands over many tens of thousands of years and they are an important part of Aboriginal cultural heritage.
  • Victoria has over 37,000 wetlands with two-thirds of these being natural. Of these natural wetlands two-thirds are located on private property.
  • They support 499 (24%) of Victoria’s threatened native species.
  • Wetlands act as sediment traps and filter nutrients from catchments. This helps protect the water quality of rivers, estuaries and marine areas.
  • They provide habitat for native plants and animals and many wetlands provide refuge in periods of drought.
  • Wetlands reduce the impacts of flooding by holding and slowing floodwater.
  • Wetlands provide a range of recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing and bird watching which help to support tourism and local economies.
  • Victoria’s alpine peatlands and coastal wetlands store high amounts carbon.
  • Vegetation in coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, protect communities from storm surges that erode coastlines and damage property.

The Victorian Government plays an important role in protecting and managing Victoria's wetlands and the values they support. The Victorian Government is committed to meeting our obligations under the Ramsar Convention, investing over $5 million between 2016-2020 towards the management of our 12 Ramsar sites.

The Ramsar program will continue to be supported through the 2020/21 Victorian Budget which includes

  • a $224 million program to improve the management and monitoring of our rivers, creek and waterways,
  • undertaking research to inform policy and best practice wetland management,
  • monitoring trends in wetland condition, and
  • assessing the effectiveness of management interventions.

World Wetlands Day events

      Help us celebrate World Wetlands day this year by visiting some wetlands near you or:

      • Attending a webinar run by the Sydney Wetland Institute (SWI) discussing the role of Ramsar in conserving Wetlands on Tuesday 2 February. Register here.

      Use the hashtag #WorldWetlandsDay on social media to help bring attention to this important event.

More information

Find out more about Australian wetlands

Photo: Kerang Wetlands, credit: Genevieve Smith

Page last updated: 29/01/21