Southern African Environmental Dairy

2 February: World Wetlands Day

In 1996 the Standing Committee of the Convention on Wetlands chose 2 February, the anniversary of the signing of the Convention in Ramsar, Iran in 1971 to be the annual date for celebrating and promoting the conservation of wetlands around the world. This celebration should emphasise the benefit of wetlands to the human population and the need for the wise use of wetland habitats. Wetlands are valuable in supporting life by

  • Their ability to purify water;
  • Their ability to ensure sustained water production by catchments;
  • Providing humans with a range of services, functions and products that have direct economic, social and cultural value; and
  • Being the warehouse of biodiversity through maintaining plant and animal species.

17-22 March: National Water Week

22 March: World Day for Water (theme is Urban Water Management) (Heritage preferred day)

This annual event focuses public attention on the importance of water, one of South Africa's most limited resources.

23 March: World Meteorological Day

In 1960 the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) decided that 23 March should be celebrated as World Meteorological Day. The purpose is to focus attention on the important role that meteorology and meteorological services play in the general welfare of mankind. A new theme and a slogan are chosen annually to improve the public's understanding of the activities of the Weather Service.

25 March: River Day - South Africa

26 March: Earth Hour (Heritage preferred day)

22 April: Earth Day

24 April: International Arbor Day

08 May: International Migratory Bird Day

22 May: International day for Biological Diversity

Become part of the international environmental movement by planning and celebrating each of the above days with organised events and activities.

5 June: World Environment Day (Heritage preferred day)

By Resolution 2994 of 15 December 1972, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated 5 June as World Environment Day, to deepen public awareness of the need to preserve and enhance the environment. This date was chosen, as it was the opening day of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), which resulted in the establishment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Twenty years later, on that date, the UN General Assembly convened the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, where nations came together

  • To take the decisions needed to rekindle the hopes of the 1972 Conference,
  • To take up the challenges of a viable and equitable balance between environment and development, and
  • To promote a sustainable future for the earth and its people.

UNEP chooses a theme each year, which forms part of the theme chosen by the National Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism.

8 June: World Ocean Day

17 June: International day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The United Nations General Assembly, by Resolution 49/115 of 17 June 1994, proclaimed 17 June World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. The General Assembly acknowledged that desertification and drought are problems of a global dimension, which affect all regions of the world and that joint action by the international community is needed to combat this situation, particularly in Africa. The purpose of this day is to promote awareness of The significance of desertification and land degradation, The need for international cooperation to combat desertification, and The effects of drought and of activities relating to the implementation of this convention.

11 July: World Population Day

9 August: International day of the world?s indigenous people

1 - 7 September: National Arbor Week - South Africa (Heritage preferred day)

Arbor Week, in early spring, is an occasion when the South African public is reminded of the importance of trees and when we are inspired to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.

10-15 September: Cleanup SA Week

14 September:  Recycling Day (SA)

15 September: International Coastal Clean-up Day

16 September: World Ozone Day

By Resolution 49/114, dated 19 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly designated 16 September, the day on which the Montreal Protocol was adopted in 1987, as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The ozone layer, the invisible shield that protects all living things from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, started its decline because of ozone-depleting substances used around the world. By signing the Protocol, governments set a precedent for further international cooperation in dealing with a global environment threat by phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals. South Africa acceded to the Protocol in 1990. The commemoration of this international day provides a unique opportunity for the international community

  • To reflect on the progress that has been made, and
  • To remind decision makers and the public of the need to protect this valuable shield that safeguards our planet.

22 September: World Car Free Day

24 September: Heritage Day - South Africa

The aim of Heritage Day is to focus public attention on the importance of South Africa's natural and cultural heritage.

27 September: World Tourism Day

27 September has been celebrated as World Tourism Day since 1980. This date was chosen in 1979 by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism, namely the anniversary of the adoption of the WTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.

The main purpose of this day is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its

  • Social,
  • Cultural,
  • Political, and
  • Economic values.

The United Nations General Assembly, on recommendation of the WTO's Executive Council, selects the theme for each year. The WTO Secretary-General issues a message every year to mark the occasion.

01 October: World Habitat Day (1st Monday of Every October)

8-12 October: National Marine Week - South Africa

National Marine Day is celebrated in the third week of October, at the start of the summer season when large numbers of South Africans visit coastal areas and interact with the marine environment. This day originated in South Africa in 1988. It is an annual event, which aims to focus public attention on

  • The marine environment and
  • The importance of the oceans to life on earth.

The Chief Directorate of Marine and Coastal Management within the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism coordinates activities for the day. A theme is chosen annually to celebrate different aspects of the marine environment.

7 November: World Responsible Tourism Day

21 November: World Fisheries Day

24 November: Birding Big Day

11 December: International Mountain Day

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