The protection and wise use of urban wetlands at local government level was the focus when mayors and officials from 23 Wetland Cities across the world gathered in Amiens, France in early June. The event was co-organized by the Ramsar Regional Centre – East Asia (RRC-EA) and the City of Amiens.

2nd Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors - a platform to share experiences of wetland management at city level

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With 23 out of a total 45 Wetland Cities represented at the two-day roundtable, the Mayor of Amiens, Brigitte Fouré, opened with a strong statement on the importance of the sustainable use of urban and periurban wetlands, while respecting heritage and supporting dynamic and innovative development. She emphasized that politicians play a key role in making sure wetlands are protected.

Executive Director of RRC-EA, Seung Oh Suh, thanked all mayors for traveling to the meeting and invited the political leaders, officials and partners of accredited Wetland Cities to proudly present what their cities had achieved to protect their wetlands and create urban environments in harmony with wetlands.

Wetland management requires long-term commitment and behavioral change

Deputy Mayor of Yancheng, Benhui Wu, a city of 8 million people, which is located close to the Yancheng Yellow Sea Wetland, presented his city’s aim to establish an innovative integrated management model that combines government, business, education and research actors.The Yancheng Yellow Sea wetland is the world’s largest wintering ground for red-crowned cranes and is home to the world’s largest wild elk population.

The Mayor of Sackwell, Canada, highlighted the academic sector’s role in working in partnership with city officials to protect and restore wetlands. Sackwell is known for regular tidal surges due to breaches in the Tantramar dyke system, hence protecting its wetlands is important to the city and maintaining wetlands as natural buffers to floods is included in Sackville’s Corporate Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

The Mayor of Suncheon City, Kwan-kyu Roh, also emphasized the importance of policy coherence and long-term commitment. Wetland restoration in Suncheon City has been taking place for more than 20 years.

In addition to the plenary presentations, there were several parallel thematic sessions and panel discussions. One of the key discussion points was the difficulty of changing citizens’ behavior and attitudes towards wetlands, which have traditionally been seen as wastelands in urban environments.

During the second session of presentations, Mayor Runsheng Liang from Dongying, China, gave some insights on the practice of wetland city construction in Dongying. The Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve in Dongying, a city located in East China’s Shandong province, has witnessed a growing number of birds, which is proof of the city’s wetland protection and restoration efforts.

Mayor Balazs Rigo from Hungary gave an insightful presentation about Tata, the city of waters, and how wetlands have been revived since coal mining and related karst water pumping stopped in the area in the 1990s.

World Coastal Forum to be held in Yancheng, China, in September 2023

The Deputy Mayor of Yancheng announced that Yancheng will host the World Coastal Forum in September 2023. The World Coastal Forum was officially launched at the Ramsar COP14 meeting in Geneva in November 2022. The launch of the World Coastal Forum is linked to resolutions/decisions of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS, 2017), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (2018), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 2018) and IUCN (2020) that called for the establishment of a multistakeholder global coastal forum that brings together key actors to facilitate the protection, management and restoration of these habitats.

CitiesWithNature – an opportunity for Wetland Cities

Laura Louw, representing ICLEI on the Independent Advisory Committee (IAC), shared more on the strategic value of Wetland Cities joining the global CitiesWithNature initiative and using the Action Platform. CitiesWithNature can contribute positively to cities’ efforts in setting baselines and reaching targets when it comes to wetland protection and restoration. CitiesWithNature is recognized in the Convention on Biological Diversity Decision 15/12, which was adopted at CBD COP15 in December 2022, as the platform where cities should report on, and track progress against their commitments to the Global Biodiversity Framework and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.

Meeting of the Wetland City Network

A meeting of the Wetland City Network, chaired by the Mayor of Suncheon, South Korea, saw the Mayor of Amiens elected as the Chair for the next triennium. Seung Oh Suh gave a report on the accomplishments of the Wetland City Network for 2019 to 2023, including development of the  Wetland City Network website. He also presented the Terms of Reference for the Wetland City Network, Draft Wetland City Strategic Plan 2022-2028 and Resolution XIV.11 on Wetland education in the formal education sector, and the role of education and communication to increase public awareness.

The 3rd Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors will be held in Dongying, China, in 2024. The Wetland City members also chose Tata to host the 4th Roundtable of Wetland City Mayors in 2025 after Dongying, China.

Cities can now apply to become Wetland City and join the Wetland City network

The Wetland City accreditation encourages cities that are close to, and dependent on, wetlands, primarily Wetlands of International Importance but also wetlands with other conservation category status, to develop and strengthen a positive relationship with these valuable ecosystems. For example, cities can do this through increased participation and public awareness, as well as a careful consideration of wetlands in municipal planning and decision-making.

A candidate city will be assessed and may be recommended as an Accredited Wetland City by the scheme’s Independent Advisory Committee, after being proposed by the Contracting Party (through its National Focal Point or the Head of its Administrative Authority for the Convention) on whose territory it is located. The deadline for the Head of the Administrative Authority or the National Focal Point to forward the nomination form to the Convention Secretariat is 30 November 2023. Details of national focal points can be found here.

You can find more information at

ICLEI’s role as partner to the Convention

The Independent Advisory Committee (IAC) governs the Wetland City Accreditation Scheme under Resolution XII.10. This committee reviews the Wetland City Accreditation applications from candidate cities and reports its decision to the Standing Committee of the Convention. ICLEI, along with the Convention on Wetlands’ International Organization Partners, promotes the Wetland City Accreditation Scheme and local efforts to gain and maintain its branding.

Through ICLEI’s city networks and CitiesWithNature platform, it is well positioned to promote the Wetland City Accreditation brand. During the second triennium from 2019 until 2022, while ICLEI served as Co-chair of the IAC, 25 more cities were accredited and they received their award during an Award Ceremony at COP14 in Geneva in 2022.

What is Wetland City Accreditation?

The Wetland City Accreditation (WCA) scheme was launched in 2015 – during the 12th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Ramsar Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands in Uruguay – with the aim of improving local authorities’ work in the conservation and wise use of wetlands. The accredited Wetland Cities are intended to act as models for the study, demonstration and promotion of the Convention on Wetlands’ objectives, approaches, principles and resolutions. Cities become candidates for accreditation by applying to the official call for applications posted here. In May 2023, Operational Guidance for Wetland City Accreditation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was published to assist cities to apply for the accreditation.

The WCA scheme aims to encourage cities in close proximity to and dependent on wetlands, especially Wetlands of International Importance, to highlight and strengthen a positive relationship with these valuable ecosystems, for example through increased public awareness of their importance and participation in municipal planning and decision-making.

During the Ramsar Conference of Parties in 2022, the second triennium Wetland City Accreditation Awards Ceremony took place to celebrate the accreditation of 25 new cities (listed below). These cities have joined the already existing 18 accredited Wetland cities, now totaling 43 cities across the world.

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