Efforts of Youths to Pass on the Blessings of Wetlands to the Next Generation~Youth Ramsar Japan~


Youth Ramsar Japan was stablished in 2014. It was established mainly by junior high school, senior high school, and college students who had joined the environmental education program for children centering on wetlands ‘KODOMO Ramsar‘ Program (KODOMO: children, hereinafter called KR Program). It conducts various activities by youths centering on wetlands. The activities aim to ‘implement United Nations ESD GAP (Aichi-Nagoya Declaration) and bring new perspective to wetlands around the world with youths' power’.


About Ramsar Convention

‘Ramsar Convention‘ was originally adopted to conserve habitats of water birds moving around wetlands across the globe. It is the first convention aimed to conserve natural resources on a global scale. As of March 2016, Japan has 50 registered wetlands under this convention.

Ramsar Center and KODOMO Ramsar Program

Of course, the aim of wetland conservation is not only to secure habitats of water birds. Wetlands are habitats of all kinds of living creatures and they are deeply connected with human activities. It goes without saying that each and every wetland has its unique ecosystem, history to be handed down and culture to protect. Ramser Convention defines to protect these wetlands by the following three actions: ‘conservation’, ‘wise use’ and ‘CEPA*’.

At Ramsar Center, they especially put a lot of efforts into CEPA activities. Since 2006, they have been implementing KT program continuously. This effort is mainly for elementary school children. In about 10 years, it provided more than 2300 children with opportunities to learn and raised children to be active in each wetland. In 2014, the effort was adopted as one of the ‘Projects to Accelerate Collaborative Efforts for Regional Revitalization’ (national) of the Ministry of the Environment. It focused more on each wetland's independence and strengthened the perspective of ESD. They conducted activities in collaboration with related people in the community than ever.

*CEPA:Communication, Capacity building, Education, Participation and Awareness

The establishment of Youth Ramsar Japan

A new movement occurred from this KR program. It is ‘Youth Ramsar Japan’. ‘Youth Meeting’ was held together with ‘ESD KODOMO Ramsar Wetland Exchange in Fujisaki Higata Tideland’. ‘Graduates’ of KR Program gathered at the meeting. They exchanged views actively; what they would be able to do by making use of their knowledge and experiences, and what should they do to make their friends of the same generation become interested in wetlands and environment, etc. When children grow up to be junior high school and senior high school students, they have less opportunities to have contact with wetlands. Therefore, they discussed the need of network. As a result, ‘Youth Ramsar Japan’ was established.


Members themselves, from junior high school students to grad students, plan and conduct activities. They also help Ramsar Center and are active as the staff of KR Program.

‘The Second Youth Ramsar Exchange in Lake Biwa’ was held in September. 12 children from three wetlands (Kabukuri Numa Marsh / Kejo Numa Marsh, Fujimae Higata Tideland and Lake Biwa) participated in the gathering. They participated in events, held workshops, bathed in Lake Biwa, dissected and ate both native fish and foreign fish, etc. The activities attracted media’s attention as proactive environmental education activities by youths.

Cleaning black bass (foreign fish)! Enjoy bathing in Lake Biwa.


(1)Network between generations

Youth Ramsar Japan is originally based on the network in KR Program. It already has connections with NPOs and local governments including Ramsar Center who are active in each wetland. Members of Ramsar Center and related people of each wetland (NPOs, local governments, etc.) instruct youths directly and support their classroom lectures, fieldwork and operation. Thus, the activities are supported by a lot of adults. By playing active roles as the staff of KR Program, youths are also expected to be leaders of wetland conservation.

(2)Network between regions

Connecting registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention needs connections beyond regions. There are issues of the physical distances, however, there are good tools to cover these issues nowadays. They discuss meeting agenda and activity policies using free communication applications, and hold regular meetings and events. They are creating networks that are unique to youths.

(3)Create places to make use of youths’ independence

Youths continue independent activities by making use of both vertical and horizontal connections. It could be said that this ‘independence’ is the backbone of Youth Ramsar Japan.

Some children leave the field for various reasons such as to head for higher level of schooling, even they have become interested in wetlands through experiencing KR program and conducted activities to get familiar with wetlands while they were elementary school pupils. Many of local activity organizations target mainly at elementary school pupils. By the establishment of Youth Ramsar Japan, however, chances have increased to make use of independence of children who want to continue their activities even after becoming junior high school students.

Above all, their activities seem very joyful. They may have operational hardships in addition to their school work, still their feelings for wetlands connect them with wetlands. They are thinking of making make more positive commitments to the activities as the staff of KR Program in the future; conduct youth version of KR Program, build higher level of expertise through such as workshops, seek chances to output their expertise to enlighten people of the same age on conservation of wetlands, hold events for people of the same age, attend international conferences, etc.

In considering a sustainable society, there is no doubt that sense of values and action of youths who are responsible for the next generation are important. We hope that networks of youths to be established in each field by referring to these efforts.


・ESD/environmental education

・Biodiversity/nature conservation


・Executive committee/council

・Others (network between generations)

People involved (Actor and Partners)


・Youth Ramsar Japan


・Ramsar Center

・Incorporated Non-profit Organization Wetlands International Japan

・Conference on Local Governments Related to Wetlands under the Ramsar Convention

・Visitor centers, NGOs, NPOs, etc. in each wetland under the Ramasar Convention

Reported by Asami Takahashi (KANTO Environmental Partnership Office)
March, 2016