Catchment News

Marking World Wetlands Day: February 2nd 2017

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World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd February, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. Parties to the Ramsar Convention – including Ireland – commit to the wise use of wetlands and more specific measures.

The theme for World Wetlands Day 2017 is “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction”.

It’s a pertinent theme for Ireland where plans to handle flood and coastal erosion risks are hotly debated.

The key message is that Wetlands play an important role in reducing the impact of extreme weather events such as storm surges floods and droughts. Intact coastal wetlands with seaweed buffers reduce the impact of storm waves.

We – that is communities, journalists and decision makers – need to better understand, protect and indeed restore these and other wetland functions.  For more information, please see

World Wetlands Day Thursday February 2nd – Dublin Events

  • 10:00 – Coastwatch trip to Sandymount Strand – meet at Booterstown DART Station
  • 13:00 –  Talk: ‘Working with Wetlands to reduce flood and erosion risk’ in The Simon Perry Building, Trinity College
  • 15:00 – Photography Exhibition Launch, Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay. More details are available on the Dublin Bay Biosphere website. 

Further details on each of these events are available by clicking on the Calendar in the sidebar of this page (Desktop Only) or contacting Karin Dubsky (contact details at end of article).

Things YOU can do:

  1. Be informed: set aside to learn more about the role of wetlands in flood and erosion risk reduction. There are excellent materials on the Ramsar wetland website, see also IUCN overview on and teacher materials on
  2. Enter a photo competition: Enter or entice a young person (18 – 25 years old) to enter the Wetlands Youth Photo Contest, organized by the Ramsar Convention bureau. Up to 3 photos taken and uploaded between 2 Feb and 2 March 2017 in/of a wetland which has disaster risk reduction functions.
  3. Organise an event or activity on World Wetlands Day, or close to the day – A local flood plain or bog walk with someone who knows how it ticks. To make it extra informative download a flood or erosion map for the area from the OPW website and see where the past flood or prediction lines run. What about a coastal expedition at low tide around a bay, or holding a talk, debate, exhibition or paint in on wetlands?: Ireland has 45 designated Ramsar sites, if one is near you, check it out.  There is an Irish Ramsar Wetlands poster and a wetland leaflet produced by the Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee which can be downloaded or posted out.

Please register your event. Go to where you can complete an online form and also see the many other events planned across the world.

Article by Karin Dubsky, Coastwatch Ireland


Karin Dubsky CEPA Focal Point Ramsar Convention for Ireland. 086 8111 684   and

Karin is also member of the Irish Ramsar Wetlands Committee which includes a range of expertise from different government and nongovernment bodies.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.