World Wetlands Day 2023 highlights need for restoration

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World Wetlands Day 2023 is celebrated on 2 February and focuses on reviving and restoring wetlands. To mark the occasion, several of our members are hosting events showcasing the importance of these diverse ecosystems and why their restoration is needed urgently.

The restoration and protection of Europe’s wetlands is especially urgent. Wetlands comprise about 2% of the EU’s territory (and about 12.5% of the European continent) and are among the most threatened ecosystems – with an estimated 35% loss since 1970, a rate of loss three times faster than forests.

Wetlands, such as coastal salt marshes, seagrass meadows, tidal mudflats, rivers and streams, lakes, bogs and floodplains, provide food and clean water for millions of people and habitat for a huge range of aquatic, terrestrial and amphibious species. Restoring these landscapes means reviving many of these services and benefits that have been lost or damaged in previous decades.

A reason for hope

The EU is currently debating a proposed Nature Restoration Law targeting the restoration of degraded ecosystems and biodiversity. Enacting this law would be the strongest step yet to halt and reverse the loss of the EU’s wetlands. We call on the European Parliament and EU countries to strengthen the proposal regarding wetland restoration, in particular measures on restoring free-flowing rivers, their floodplains and peatlands.

Read our blog: ‘On World Wetlands Day, let’s celebrate our watery superheroes!

Our 11-strong network of NGOs from across Europe are working to preserve and restore wetlands. Here are some of their events marking World Wetlands Day 2023:

Our member events

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), UK

WWT will carrying out a wetland-based ‘stunt’ in the centre of Bristol, UK, featuring a 3D-painted street ‘mural’  highlighting the importance of wetlands.

Wetlands Conservation Centre (Centrum Ochrony Mokradeł, CMok), Poland

CMok will host a scientific conference on 4-7 February on the importance of wetlands for people and nature, their protection, and a new ‘Pact for Wetlands’. More information on the event can be found here.

Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre, Germany

On 2 February, the Michael Succow Foundation are organising an audiowalk, available via the Greifswald city’s smartphone application, across the nearby peatland Steinbecker Vorstadt Polder. The audiowalk is hosted in cooperation with Greifswald city and will be in the company of city Lord Mayor Dr. Stefan Fassbinder, the new professor for Peatland Science at the University of Greifswald, Gerald Jurasinski, Member of the German Parliament Anna Kassautzki and the organic farmer Dörte Wolfgramm-Stühmeyer. More information can be found here and on the World Wetlands Day website.

Tour du Valat, France

Tour du Valat, located in Camargue in the south of France, will open its doors to the public on 5 February to mark World Wetlands Day 2023. The organisation will provide a number of activities for adults, adolescents and children. More information on visiting Tour du Valat including its annual open days are available here.