“Wetlands for a sustainable urban future”
Message from Mechtild Rössler, Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, for World Wetlands Day 2018
In focusing on the theme “wetlands for a sustainable urban future”, this year’s World Wetlands Day sheds light on the importance of wetlands for cities. Today, 50% of the world’s population live in urban areas. Forecasts expect the urban population to rise to 6.3 billion by 2050 – a more than eightfold increase since 1950. While the urban proportion of the world’s population will more than double from 1950 to 2050, the number of the world’s wetlands has already more than halved over the past 100 years. However, wetlands play a vital role for cities and for the whole of humanity. For instance, they serve as a source of drinking water; they reduce flooding and the vegetation of wetlands filters domestic and industrial waste and improves water quality.
On the occasion of the World Wetlands Day 2018, the World Heritage Centre welcomes the close collaboration between the Ramsar Convention and the World Heritage Convention. As of today, more than 95 Ramsar Sites of International Importance overlap with more than 69 World Heritage properties.