Wetlands International is the only global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands. We are deeply concerned about the loss and deterioration of wetlands such as lakes, marshes and rivers. Our vision is a world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide.
Wetlands International is dedicated to maintaining and restoring wetlands— for their environmental values as well as for the services they provide to people. We work through our network of offices, our partners and experts to achieve our goals. Most of our work is financed on a project basis by governments and private donors. We are also supported by government and NGO membership.
A network organisation—working locally and globally
Our head office is based in the Netherlands. We have a network of offices around the world; these often independent entities share the same Strategy. We work at the field level to develop and mobilise knowledge, and use this practical experience to advocate for better policies.
A world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide.
To sustain and restore wetlands, their resources and biodiversity.
Our Core Values
We maintain the following core values:
- Our work is globally relevant
- Our work is based on sound science
- We work through partnerships and with a wide range of sectors
- We respect traditional values and knowledge
- We respect human rights and aim to contribute to gender equality
- We work in a transparent and accountable way
The Strategic Intent (2015-2025) sets out how we work as an organisation and the targets we have set for ourselves for the coming years.
Wetlands International and its predecessors have worked to protect wetlands since 1937. Back then we were known as the International Wildfowl Inquiry. Our work began as part of the British Section of the International Committee of Bird Preservation, with a focus on protecting waterbirds.
In 1954, our name became International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) and our scope expanded to include the protection of wetland areas. We were based at the Museum of Natural History in London, followed by the Tour du Valat in the Camargue (France) until 1968, and then the Wildfowl Trust in Slimbridge (UK) until 1995.
Organisations with similar objectives emerged in Asia and the Americas: the Asian Wetland Bureau (AWB) was initiated as INTERWADER in 1983, and Wetlands for the Americas (WA) formed in 1989. These three organisations started to work closely together in 1991.
This working relationship evolved into a single global organisation which adopted the name Wetlands International and established its headquarters in the Netherlands in 1996.
Wetlands International is the only global non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to wetlands. We are a global not-for-profit with a history of more than half a century. We work via our twenty offices, our partners and experts. Most of our work is financed on a project basis by governments and private donors. We are also supported by government and NGO membership.
A global organisation
We have a staff of approximately 150 people working in our network of offices in Europe, Africa, South, East and North Asia, Oceania, and Latin America. Our headquarters is based in the Netherlands. All of our offices contribute to develop and implement our global Strategy and work to achieve its global targets.
A network organisation
While we are small for a global organisation, we achieve a lot by working via our network of partners and experts. Thousands of experts assist our work on monitoring wetlands and other resources. In addition, we work closely with a wide range of partners: other NGOs, scientific institutes, public bodies and companies.
Our Management Board is responsible for daily management which the Supervisory Council oversees. Government and NGO representatives form the Association of Members which approves the strategy and budget, and appoints the Management Board. Several offices are separate legal entities, registered in their country of operation, with their own governance structure.