World Wetlands Day celebrated in Vientiane

Vientiane, Lao PDR, February 2nd, 2009 (IUCN Lao) – Lao PDR government representatives, teachers and students, and civil society participants came together yesterday at the National University of Laos to celebrate World Wetlands Day.


IUCN and partners convene activities to recognise the value of wetlands,

World Wetland Days (2nd Feb) Photo: IUCN Lao

Participants were treated to dance and song performances from university and school students, and learnt about the value of wetlands and wetland resources in Lao PDR and internationally through speeches, debate and presentations.

The theme of this year’s event was “Upstream-downstream: wetlands connect us all”, emphasising that water is the critical element upon which all life depends, and it is wetlands – rivers, lakes, marshes, floodplains – that capture, store and transport water for all of us.

World Wetlands Day takes place each year on February 2nd, marking date of the adoption of the international Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to raise awareness of the Convention and the value of wetlands.

The conservation and sustainable use of Lao PDR’s wetlands is an issue of particular importance for the country at the moment, with the Government currently considering adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Quote from Ms Latsamay Sylavong, Country Representative of IUCN Lao

“The water resources, as well as the diversity of plants, animals and fish found in Lao PDR’s wetlands are vital for the Lao people in many ways, from supporting livelihoods to attracting tourists to maintaining cultural heritage. I am also very happy that this year’s theme stresses that what happens in rivers and wetlands outside of Lao PDR can affect us, and what we do in our country affects people downstream”.

Notes to editors

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Mr Sengpaseuth Simmanivong, IUCN Lao PDR
Tel: +856-21-216401 ext. 107, Mobile: +856-20 798 7659,

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