1. In recognition of the importance of the ocean, the marine environment and its resources for life on earth and for sustainable development, the United Nations has declared 1998 as the International Year of the Ocean.

  2. World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on 2 February. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

  3. In 1997, the International Coral Reef Initiative, a partnership among governments and nongovernment organizations, declared the first International Year of the Reef with the purpose of raising awareness of the state of the coral reefs of the world, and to encourage their conservation. IYOR 1997 stimulated national and international actions that helped lead to establishment of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in 1998, and the passage of the Coral Reef Conservation Act in 2000.