Ramsar celebration on the occasion of the Convention’s 40th Anniversary

20 May 2011 | News story

IUCN joined the international community and friends of Ramsar last night in an official ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 

The UN's Permanent Representative of Switzerland and the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, hosted a high-level reception on 19 May in Geneva to celebrate Ramsar's 40th Anniversary. Guests included the IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre and Water Programme Director Mark Smith, as well as numerous representatives from the Geneva international community, Ramsar regional and international organisation partners, federal and local authorities, who all gathered at the Natural History Museum of Geneva for the special event.

IUCN has been privileged to host the Ramsar Secretariat since its inception, and is proud to be associated with the Convention’s important developments. To date a total of 1929 sites have been designated and protected as Ramsar wetlands of international importance.

Ramsar is the first of the modern global intergovernmental treaties on the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and it is still the only one that addresses a specific ecosystem. It has helped pave the way for international environmental governance approaches that we have today.

IUCN’s role as an international organisation partner to Ramsar, puts it in a unique position to support the Convention through sharing scientific knowledge and practical experiences. Our partnership is based on a shared stake in the global water crisis and a shared commitment to conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

During the celebratory opening session, welcoming addresses were made by Anada Tiéga, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention (statement); Ambassador Martinelli, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office, Switzerland (statement); and Ambassador Sajjadi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office, Islamic Republic of Iran (statement).

Welcoming remarks were followed by video screenings and a video clip contest. The winners of the competition received their prizes and the winning video was projected during the ceremony.

The evening concluded with a buffet dinner reception featuring Swiss and Iranian flavours.

A video message of the IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre congratulating the Ramsar Convention on its 40th Anniversary, can be viewed here.


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.