2021 Call for Projects World Wetlands Days 2022

For local initiatives in the 27 Mediterranean countries that are Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention

Deadline: 10 November 2021


1 – French Biodiversity Agency

French Biodiversity Agency (OFB) is a public state institution of an administrative nature, created by the law n° 2016-1087 of August 8th, 2016, for the safeguarding of biodiversity, nature and landscapes and governed by Decree n° 2016-1842 of 26 December 2016 on the French Agency for Biodiversity.

The Agency carries out missions in support of the implementation of public policies in the fields of knowledge, preservation, management and restoration of the biodiversity of terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments.

It is under the supervision of the Ministry in charge of ecology and supports the publicactors, working in close partnership particularly with the socio-economic actors. It also aims to engage with the public and mobilizes citizens around actions for biodiversity.

2 –MedWet Initiative

MedWet is a regional intergovernmental network operating under the Ramsar Convention and alsoinvolving other key actors, dedicated to the promotion and support of multi-stakeholder policies and actions on the ground for the conservation and sustainable use of Mediterranean wetlands.

MedWet encourages governments to adopt policies and implement actions on the ground for the conservation and sustainable use of those Mediterranean wetlands.

The main goal of MedWet is to contribute to the achievement of the key target of the 2016-2030

Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) in the Mediterranean region through the effective

implementation of the Ramsar Convention’s wetland strategic plans.

3 –World Wetlands Days (WWD)

World Wetlands Day is celebrated, in an effort to raise public awareness of the importance of wetlands for humanity and the planet, on 2 February every year, the anniversary of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Around this date, there are many events organized around the world.

Marshes, peatbogs, wet meadows, lagoons, ecosystems between land and water, wetlands are multi#faceted and characterised by exceptional biodiversity. They are home to a vast array of plant and animal species. Through their different functions, they also play a key role in the regulation of water resources, water purification and flood prevention.

Threatened by human activities and global changes, this natural heritage is necessarily receiving special attention. Its preservation represents important environmental, economic and social issues.

4 –Launch of the 2022 call for projects

For the edition of World Wetlands Day 2022, MedWet is relaunching a call for projects to financially support the actors in the realization of animation(s) for WWD.

In 2021, 25 projects were funded. This new call for projects will make it possible to select 34 projects of up to 250 euros to provide a financial boost for their animation(s) of sensibilization and education within the framework of World Wetlands Day.

Since 1998, the Ramsar Convention has set an annual theme and provides event organizers with visual materials in several languages: brochures, posters, games, and so on. For the 2022 edition, the chosen theme is “Wetlands Action for People & Nature”.

5 – Objectives of the call for projects

The objectives of this call for projects are to work towards

 Initiating and/or facilitating the realization of animations or tools for sensitization and

education about wetlands in the Mediterranean;

 Raising the awareness of the general public for the conservation of wetlands in the


 Encouraging actors to participate in an event of global importance; and

 Creating a network of initiatives embodying these values in the Mediterranean region.

6 –Typology of animations / awareness and education tools

World Wetlands Day is a special occasion to bring together wetland users and talk to them about theseenvironments and their importance in the Mediterranean. Particular attention is paid to:

 Animations / tools targeting a young audience (up to 25 years old) with pedagogical aims; and

 Tools that can be employed during other events.

 Digital tools in the context of COVID 19

Proposed animations / tools that could be financed. This list is not exhaustive and should be considered as examples:

 Cultural activities

 Workshops

 Construction sites

 Conferences, debates

 Exhibitions

 Observation points

 Screening of movies

 Educational projects

 Nature excursion

 Participatory science

The applicant organization undertakes to assign the rights of reproduction, dissemination and availability of all documents submitted under this call for projects free of charge. After the use of the financial support, a feedback report about the animation will be greatly appreciated (level of participation, number of tools distributed, etc.).

7 –Selection procedures

Selection of the projects

 The MedWet Secretariat will first review the relevance and completeness of the files before submission to the jury.

 A selection committee will meet in December 2021 to select projects that will benefit from the financial contribution.

Each structure can propose only one animation

Selection criteria

 WWD event dynamics

The aim is to promote communication, education and awareness of wetlands to diverse audiences,with a strong focus on young audiences, around World Wetlands Day and throughout the year.

 Valorization of the annual theme: Wetlands Action for People & Nature

The theme remains optional but may be an added value in the selection of the projects.

 Type of expense being funded

The financial boost can be used to finance or co-finance animations or tools. It may be a service invoice or tool production invoice. However, the funding will not cover salary costs.

 Communication WWD

The phrase “World Wetlands Day” will be mentioned and the MedWet and OFB logos must appear on the tool or in the communication of the financed animations that the project holder undertakes to

make to the target audience. It will be able to rely on MedWet for enhancement of the Ramsar identity in its communication (Ramsar tools will be available).


 14/09/2021: the call for submission of projects

 10/11/2021 à 18h: close of the call of projects

 before 15/12/2021: meeting of the selection committee

 04/01/2022: announcement of allocated funding

A – Project(s) holder informations

Any candidates wishing to submit one application are invited to send their files in paperless format:

 to the MedWet Secretariat, contact: [email protected]; and

 to the Ramsar National Focal Point and CEPA Government Focal Point of their country

Each project leader can contact the MedWet Secretariat for information on the preparation of the application file if that would be helpful.



Name of the organization:

Abbreviation (Acronym):

Legal form:

Legal identification number:

Declared and exercised activities:

Mailing address:

Postal code: city:


Email address: website:

Legal representative:

Number of employees: full-time equivalent

Technical contact person for the project

Project lead:

Fixed telephone: Portable telephone:


Other persons involved in the project:

Name: Role: email:

Name: Role: email:

Presentation of the WWD project

Title of the animation / tool:


Target audience:

The number of persons who could benefit:

Technical partner of the project:

If the animation concerns a Ramsar site, Ramsar site concerned :

Estimated overall cost of the project:


I, the undersigned…………………………………………………………………………………………., legal representative of

………………………………………………………., acting as………………….. …………………………………………………………………


grant free of charge the right to use copies and provide documents realized in this call for projects.

Done in………………………………………….., Date……………………………………………….


Bank details

Candidates should please attach their bank details to this file so that the MedWet Secretariat can transfer the financial assistance if selected. (file in attachment must be completed )

Demonstration of an Aquaponics System


From September 6 to 10, a course was held in Burgas, which is part of the aquaponics training system, developed in communication between specialists from five countries – Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Cyprus.

During the course, on September 9, at 14:00, in the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya” specialists from the Via Pontica Foundation, a leading project partner and experts from NAFA and the Thracian University demonstrated an aquaponic installation for home use, made with easily accessible materials.



The installation served as a demonstration unit to illustrate the sustainability and effectiveness of aquaponics in a small area and the active cooperation between business and science for further development of new technologies and to seek wider opportunities for aquaponics in the future in Bulgaria.



The demonstration showed that aquaponics is an innovative method that has the potential to produce large quantities of both vegetables and fish with minimal raw materials, without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, with the possibility of year-round production, in various locations and in any conditions without harm to the environment.



The desire of the teams working on the project is to create a basic system for aquaponics training, with the possibility of expansion, and the task of the participating trainers is through presentations and discussions to form a training course with a practical focus, which will be provided free of charge to the project website www.smartfarmingproject.eu.

An example of controlled organic farming, aquaponics has already gained worldwide recognition due to the fact that it is proving to be a reliable and sustainable method of growing food and will one day help feed millions of people around the world.


An Aquaponics Training System Is Being Developed in Burgas

A training program for aquaponics is being developed in Burgas – systems for simultaneous cultivation of fish and plants. Installations could supply fresh produce a family or developed on an industrial scale.

Creating a sustainable agricultural business today requires the introduction of sustainable farming techniques and innovations for rural and semi-urban farmers. One of them is aquaponics, which is still not popular enough in Bulgaria.

Aquaponics is an innovative, sustainable, high-performance technology that combines aquaculture production (in a recirculation system) with organic plant breeding. An example for controlled organic farming with an ideal growing environment. Allows year-round production of various crops, according to the season and demand, close to the consumer. This new technology not only combines all these characteristics of production, but also utilizes waste substances with mutual benefit.

Unlike traditional agriculture, aquaponics uses 1/6 of the water for sustainable development and produces 8 times more food per decare, without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, all year round, in various locations and in all conditions.

Over the last 10 years, aquaponics has gained worldwide recognition due to the fact that it is proving to be a reliable and sustainable method of growing food.

From September 6-10 in Burgas is held training of trainers, covering all aspects of aquaponics. The main lecturers are Assoc. Prof. Dr. Galin Nikolov, Executive Director of NAFA, Alexander Atanasov, Ph.D. and Konstantin Petrov – teachers at the Thracian University – Stara Zagora.

The course is part of the aquaponics training system, developed in communication between specialists from five countries – Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Turkey and Cyprus.

The training includes all the main aspects of fish and plant farming in aquaponics, as the task of the participating trainers is through presentations and discussions to form a training course with a practical focus, which will be provided free of charge on the project website www.smartfarmingproject.eu.

The training program is developed with the support of the European Union, Erasmus + Program under the Smart Farming 4.0 All project.The aim of the project is to collect and present information on new technologies in agriculture and in particular to support the development of hydroponics and aquaponics by making them more accessible to the general public.


Exposed! The Great Plastic Recycling Scandal

Dumped and burned: Over half of ‘recycled’ plastic in the UK is shipped abroad

Should exporting plastic be illegal? Yesterday, Greenpeace revealed that UK plastic waste sent to Turkey for recycling is often set on fire, or abandoned by the roadside. 

Imagine large piles of plastic stacked up several metres high. Then imagine this rubbish is on fire. Black, poisonous smoke billows into the sky, making it hard to breathe.

As you walk along the road, you see huge bags of waste that are split open. Plastic packaging spills out onto the grass, the wind blowing some into a nearby river. It floats downstream towards a flock of birds, a thick plastic coating on the water’s surface.

In Turkey, you don’t have to imagine such a scene. It’s a reality. And shockingly, much of the plastic comes from the UK – Tesco carrier bags and Lucozade bottles shipped across Europe, before they are illegally dumped in their tonnes.

Yesterday, Greenpeace shattered the eco-friendly image of recycling that many of us have. As part of their new report, the environmental group investigated 10 sites in southern Turkey where plastic had been discarded. They found packaging from UK supermarkets at every one.

Last year, 210,000 tonnes of UK plastic was shipped to Turkey. That’s about 21 plastic Eiffel Towers.

Government adverts encourage us to recycle much of what we throw away. Every week, most of us carefully separate our rubbish into colour-coded bins, thinking we’re doing our bit for the environment.

But there’s simply too much plastic for the UK to process. Every single day, the country sends three and a half Olympic swimming pools’ worth of plastic to foreign countries for recycling. The UK throws away more plastic per person than almost any other nation on Earth, second only to the USA. Thanks to Greenpeace, we now know where much of it ends up.

Turkey is not the only country to open their doors to the world’s plastic. When China introduced its National Sword policy in 2018, Malaysia became the dumping ground of choice for many countries.

CK Lee, an environmental activist in the country, told Greenpeace of the impact on people’s health. Local residents had “breathing difficulties, difficulty sleeping, nausea”, and felt seriously “unwell” after breathing in the toxic fumes from plastic waste burned in the open air.

Recycling is not new: the Japanese reused paper as early as the 11th Century. But synthetic plastics are complicated and expensive to recycle. Rather than build the right facilities, it is easier for governments to ship them elsewhere. That way, it becomes somebody else’s problem.

Should exporting plastic be illegal?

Plastic inevitable

Of course it should be, say some. When richer countries export to poorer countries, they treat the developing world like their personal rubbish dump. By making exports illegal, nations will be forced to take responsibility for their own waste. Last year, Malaysia sent back 150 shipping containers of illegally exported rubbish. A ban would stop ships from making the journey in the first place.

It’s not that simple, say others. Sure, a ban sounds good, but if we simply go on producing plastic as before, the damage to the environment continues. In 2018, the UK generated an estimated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste – enough plastic to fill Wembley stadium six times over. What matters, some argue, is not whether this waste is exported, but that it is dramatically reduced.

Key Words

Poisonous: One recycling plant in Essex uses a machine that creates a cotton bedsheet smell to mask the burnt plastic odour.

Greenpeace: An organisation set up in 1971 to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”.

National Sword: A 2018 policy which banned the import of most plastics. Before that, China took 45% of global plastic waste.

Japanese: Paper was so valuable that there were shops which sold nothing else.

Synthetic: Plastics created using fossil fuels. They also take longer to biodegrade, making them terrible for the environment.

Wembley: At full capacity, the football stadium holds 90,000 fans. It can also fit seven billion pints of milk from pitch to roof


Climate Change: IPCC Report Is ‘Code Red for Humanity’

Human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways, a major UN scientific report has said.

The landmark study warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade.

The report “is a code red for humanity”, says the UN chief.

But scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast.

There is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.

Echoing the scientists’ findings, UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

The sober assessment of our planet’s future has been delivered by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of scientists whose findings are endorsed by the world’s governments.

Their report is the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013. Its release comes less than three months before a key climate summit in Glasgow known as COP26.

In strong, confident tones, the IPCC’s document says “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land”.


According to Prof Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, UK, and one of the report’s authors, the scientists cannot be any clearer on this point.

“It is a statement of fact, we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet.”

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, said: “By using sports terms, one could say the atmosphere has been exposed to doping, which means we have begun observing extremes more often than before.”

The authors say that since 1970, global surface temperatures have risen faster than in any other 50-year period over the past 2,000 years.

This warming is “already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe”.

Whether it’s heatwaves like the ones recently experienced in Greece and western North America, or floods like those in Germany and China, “their attribution to human influence has strengthened” over the past decade.

IPCC report key points

Global surface temperature was 1.09C higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.

The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850

The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971

Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice

It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe

The new report also makes clear that the warming we’ve experienced to date has made changes to many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.


The oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic. Mountain and polar glaciers will continue melting for decades or centuries.

“The consequences will continue to get worse for every bit of warming,” said Prof Hawkins.

“And for many of these consequences, there’s no going back.”

When it comes to sea level rise, the scientists have modelled a likely range for different levels of emissions.

However, a rise of around 2m by the end of this century cannot be ruled out – and neither can a 5m rise by 2150.

Such outcomes, while unlikely, would threaten many millions more people in coastal areas with flooding by 2100.



One key aspect of the report is the expected rate of temperature rise and what it means for the safety of humanity.

Almost every nation on Earth signed up to the goals of the Paris climate agreement in 2015.

This pact aims to keep the rise in global temperatures well below 2C this century and to pursue efforts to keep it under 1.5C.

This new report says that under all the emissions scenarios considered by the scientists, both targets will be broken this century unless huge cuts in carbon take place.

The authors believe that 1.5C will be reached by 2040 in all scenarios. If emissions aren’t slashed in the next few years, this will happen even earlier.

This was predicted in the IPCC’s special report on 1.5C in 2018 and this new study now confirms it.

“We will hit one-and-a-half degrees in individual years much earlier. We already hit it in two months during the El Niño in 2016,” said Prof Malte Meinshausen, an IPCC author from the University of Melbourne in Australia.

“The new report’s best estimate is the middle of 2034, but the uncertainty is huge and ranges between now and never.”


The consequences of going past 1.5C over a period of years would be unwelcome in a world that has already experienced a rapid uptick in extreme events with a temperature rise since pre-industrial times of 1.1C.

“We will see even more intense and more frequent heatwaves,” said Dr Friederike Otto, from the University of Oxford, UK, and one of the IPCC report’s authors.

“And we will also see an increase in heavy rainfall events on a global scale, and also increases in some types of droughts in some regions of the world.”

Prof Carolina Vera, vice-chair of the working group that produced the document, said: “The report clearly shows that we are already living the consequences of climate change everywhere. But we will experience further and concurrent changes that increase with every additional beat of warming.”

So what can be done?

While this report is more clear and confident about the downsides to warming, the scientists are more hopeful that if we can cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by the middle of this century, we can halt and possibly reverse the rise in temperatures.

Reaching net zero involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible using clean technology, then burying any remaining releases using carbon capture and storage, or absorbing them by planting trees.

“The thought before was that we could get increasing temperatures even after net zero,” said another co-author, Prof Piers Forster from the University of Leeds, UK.

“But we now expect nature to be kind to us and if we are able to achieve net zero, we hopefully won’t get any further temperature increase; and if we are able to achieve net zero greenhouse gases, we should eventually be able to reverse some of that temperature increase and get some cooling.”

Five future impacts

Temperatures will reach 1.5C above 1850-1900 levels by 2040 under all emissions scenarios

The Arctic is likely to be practically ice-free in September at least once before 2050 in all scenarios assessed

There will be an increasing occurrence of some extreme events “unprecedented in the historical record” even at warming of 1.5C

Extreme sea level events that occurred once a century in the recent past are projected to occur at least annually at more than half of tidal gauge locations by 2100

There will be likely increases in fire weather in many regions

While the future projections of warming are clearer than ever in this report, and many impacts simply cannot be avoided, the authors caution against fatalism.

“Lowering global warming really minimises the likelihood of hitting these tipping points,” said Dr Otto. “We are not doomed.”

A tipping point refers to when part of the Earth’s climate system undergoes an abrupt change in response to continued warming.

For political leaders, the report is another in a long line of wake-up calls, but since it comes so close to November’s COP26 global climate summit, it carries extra weight.

By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent

Follow Matt on Twitter.


Invitation for Inclusion in the Campaign to Reduce Marine Litter “Our Sea – Our Future”

Photo: Hristo Anestev


The Via Pontica Foundation is pleased to invite you to join the EU-supported litter reduction campaign entitled “Our Sea – Our Future” *. The aim of the campaign is to implement measures to reduce waste, promote it and raise awareness of residents and guests of Burgas.

The waste reduction campaign will last 8 days (from 16.07.2021 to 23.07.2021 inclusive) and will be held on the beach “Kraimorie” (Kraimorie, Burgas) and on Lake Burgas (Ecopark “Vaya”).

The opening of the campaign will take place on 16.07.2021 (Friday) on the beach “Kraimorie” with the organization of ECO WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN.

The ECO WORKSHOP will be held on 16.07.2021 in the hours from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00 and will include the production of various useful and beautiful items from waste. If interested, the eco workshop will work during the whole campaign.

On 20.07.2021 (Tuesday) from 10:00 am in the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “VAYA” on the river Chakarliyka, flowing into the Burgas Lake (Vaya), a PILOT DEMONSTRATION IMPLEMENTATION OF WASTE REDUCTION MEASURES in the coastal zone, carried by rivers, flowing into the sea.

During the entire period of the campaign, a TEMPORARY INNOVATIVE INFORMATION CENTER, established with waste materials in order to raise awareness, will be located in the area of Kraimorie Beach.

Attractive facilities for separate waste collection and thematic information boards will be placed around the information center. Every visitor to the beach will have the opportunity to learn understandably presented information about the significance of the problem of marine litter.

Photo: Hristo Anestev


If you don’t know:

To what extent is waste harmful to marine organisms and humans?

How long does it take for different types of waste to decompose completely?

What are the benefits of recycling?

Which waste can be recycled and which cannot?

But you want to learn the answers to these and many other interesting questions while having fun, we are waiting for you on the beach in Kraimorie!

If you know, get involved to show that we are ready to take care of our sea!


  • The campaign “OUR SEA – OUR FUTURE” is conducted with the financial support of the EU under the project “Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal Areas”-BSB552 RedMarLitter, priority 2.2. “Awareness Raising and Joint Actions for Reducing River and Marine Litter”, Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020”.

Seas At Risk: How to Shape a Future Without Mining


A paper published by Seas At Risk warns about the disastrous environmental consequences of a new mining boom while showing how it can be prevented. Opening more mines on land and pushing mining into fragile ecosystems like the deep sea to fuel economic growth is not a realistic way forward. Concrete alternatives to this model already exist and can make mining unnecessary.

Breaking Free From Mining – A 2050 blueprint for a world without mining on land and in the deep sea’’ shows the steps needed to move away from patterns that aggravate the environment and climate crises, and shift towards a more sustainable society equipped to tackle them and break free from its dependence on finite resources.

Mining is one of the world’s most polluting industries and a main contributor to climate change. The production of seven metals (iron, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, nickel and manganese) is responsible for 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions and a major cause of biodiversity loss, human rights violations, political instability and forced displacements in the Global South.

As the environment and climate crises intensify, the much-needed transition to a carbon-neutral economy has focused mostly on technology and innovation fixes such as the large-scale deployment of renewable energy infrastructure, electric vehicles and digitalisation, all of which are metal-intensive. However, relying only on the ‘green economy’ transition without moving away from overconsumption and the paradigm of infinite economic growth requires vast amounts of metals and minerals for batteries, electronic devices or energy infrastructure.



“Technology and innovation are an important part of the solution to the ongoing climate and biodiversity breakdown. But we also need much deeper social and economic change”, says Ann Dom, Senior Policy Advisor at Seas At Risk, “and this involves shaping a different narrative for a sustainable future”.

Without it, the expected growth in demand for metals would lead to more mines being opened on land and resource extraction being pushed into new frontiers such as the deep sea, the ecosystem that sustains all life on earth. Hundreds of new mines are being planned across Europe, while several European countries currently hold deep-sea mining exploration licences in international waters and could start mining operations as early as 2023. “Unless we bring about change”, explains Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas At Risk, “metals are on course to becoming the fossil fuels of the 21st century”.

The paper sets out alternative pathways to a different society and economy, projecting the reader to 2050 and a world in which we have moved away from over-exploitation of natural resources, where primary metal extraction has become a thing of the past, and the deep sea has been safeguarded from ecosystem destruction.

Using a science- and fact-based approach, the paper identifies 2020 as a tipping point for mining and the beginning of the transition to a post-growth society. It discusses existing and emerging alternatives – including the end of planned obsolescence and the rise of repair, reuse and remanufacturing of goods; the shift to distributed energy generation; and mobility systems less reliant on private cars, among many others – and how they are to become instrumental in a fundamental transformation towards a society based on needs rather than growth, on wellbeing, and on the use of resources within the limits of our planet.

Sacrificing entire ecosystems on land and in the deep sea to fuel a new mining boom would not only exacerbate the planetary crisis, but is also unnecessary, as the fact-based alternative narrative presented in the paper showcases. As we work towards a world without fossil fuels, we can also imagine one without mining.


About Seas At Risk

Seas At Risk is an association of environmental organisations from across Europe, working together to ensure that life in our seas and oceans is abundant, diverse, climate resilient, and not threatened by human activities. Its mission is to promote ambitious policies for marine protection at European and international level. With over 30 members representing the majority of European countries, Seas At Risk speaks for millions of citizens that care deeply about the health and well-being of seas and oceans.

This article was originally published on Seas-At-Risk.org, and is republished here as part of an editorial partnership with Earth.Org.

Featured image by: EO Photographer Noel Guevara




World Oceans Day 2021


Day reminds every one of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our Planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.

The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

The second fully virtual celebration of United Nations World Oceans Day, on 8 June 2021, highlights the theme of The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods.



Produced by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, in partnership with the non-profit organization Oceanic Global, and presenting partner Blancpain, this year’s annual event sheds light on the wonder of the ocean and how it is our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth.

Join us for this year’s UN World Oceans Day annual event as we hear from thought-leaders, celebrities, institutional partners, community voices, entrepreneurs, and cross-industry experts about the biodiversity and economic opportunity that the ocean sustains.



“… as we embark on the UN Decades of Ecosystem Restoration and Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, lets join hands. Let us be the first generation to save our one and only ocean!” says Inger Andersen in her message for World Oceans Day.

This year’s theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030. The Decade will strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

Further resources

World Environment Day 2021

The pandemic that the world has been dealing with for almost 1.5 years now has shown how disastrous the consequences of ecosystem loss can be. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens – including coronaviruses – to spread. The fact remains that only with healthy ecosystems can we enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change and stop the collapse of biodiversity.

The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ and Pakistan will be the global host for the day. This World Environment Day will kick off the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea.

For too long, humans have been exploiting and destroying the planet’s ecosystems. Every three seconds, the world loses enough forest to cover a football pitch and over the last century, we have destroyed half of the wetlands.

As much as 50 per cent of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost and up to 90 per cent of coral reefs could be lost by 2050, even if global warming is limited to an increase of 1.5 degrees Celcius.

Ecosystem loss is depriving the world of carbon sinks, like forests and wetlands, at a time when humanity can least afford it. Global greenhouse gas emissions have grown for three consecutive years and the planet is one place for potentially catastrophic climate change. We must now fundamentally rethink our relationship with the living world, with natural ecosystems and their biodiversity and work towards its restoration.

What is an ecosystem?

An ecosystem is a community of plants and animals interacting with each other in a given area, and also with their non-living environments. The non-living environments include weather, earth, sun, soil, climate and atmosphere.

The ecosystem relates to the way that all these different organisms live in close proximity to each other and how they interact with each other.

What is ecosystem restoration?

Ecosystem restoration means preventing, halting, and reversing this damage – to go from exploiting nature to healing it. Ecosystem restoration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Restoration can happen in many ways – for example through actively planting or by removing pressures so that nature can recover on its own.

How can the ecosystem be restored?

All kinds of ecosystems can be restored, including forests, farmlands, cities, wetlands, and oceans. Restoration initiatives can be launched by almost anyone, from governments and development agencies to businesses, communities, and individuals. That is because the causes of degradation are many and varied, and can have an impact at different scales.

For instance, degradation may result from harmful policies such as subsidies for intensive farming or weak tenure laws that encourage deforestation. Lakes and coastlines can become polluted because of poor waste management or an industrial accident. Commercial pressures can leave towns and cities with too much asphalt and too few green spaces.

About World Environment Day

World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5, annually to encourage awareness and environmental protection. According to the United Nations, “the celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.”

The day is celebrated by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.


International Day for Biological Diversity – 22 May



“We need to protect nature, restore ecosystems and establish a balance in our relationship with the planet.The rewards will tremendous. By reversing biodiversity loss, we can improve human health, realize sustainable development and address the climate emergency.Solutions exist to protect our planet’s genetic diversity on land and at sea.Everybody has a part to play.”

                                                                                            António Guterres,UN Secretary-General


The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.

As the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few.

This year 2021 the theme is “We’re part of the solution”. The slogan was chosen to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the over-arching theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, which served as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges.

From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better. That is the main message from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), key international instrument for sustainable development.

When biodiversity has a problem, humanity has a problem

Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species — for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock — and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kind of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

But loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities. Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.