Zimbabwe to commemorate World Wetlands Day

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe will tomorrow join the rest of the world in commemorating World Wetlands Day to raise public awareness on conservation, proper utilisation and management of wetlands and their resources.

World Wetlands Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2 1971, in Ramsar, Iran. Thus the treaty became commonly known as the Ramsar Convention.

This year’s commemorations will be held under the theme “Wetland Actions for people and nature,” under the campaign message -Value, Manage, Restore, Love Wetlands.

Environmental Management Agency Environment, education and publicity manager, Ms Amkela Sidange said the theme highlighted the importance of actions to ensure conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for human and planetary health.

Ms Sidange said the national commemorations will be held tomorrow at Njovo Wetland, Zezai Village, Ward 18, Masvingo District.

“The National Wetlands Policy and National Wetlands Guidelines, will be launched during the same event. The two policy documents were formulated to inform decision making on the wise use of wetlands as provided for by the Ramsar Convention and section 113 of the Environmental Management At (CAP 20:27). Thereafter all provinces and districts will hold their commemorations showcasing wetlands that are under sustainable management in their areas of jurisdiction.

“Wetlands are fragile ecosystems whose utilisation should only be done under a licence provided by the EMA,” she said.

Zimbabwe has seven wetlands designated as Ramsar sites namely; Lake Chivero, Driefontein Grasslands, Cleveland dam, Victoria Falls, Manna pools, Chinhoyi Caves and Monavale Vlei.

“The hope is to add more wetlands to the list which we will be based on best practices for national and global interest to conserve the vital resources,” she said.

The Ramsar Convention is positioned to reverse the loss of global wetlands and preserve those that are still in their pristine state.

As the only international treaty focused on wetlands, it provides a platform of 170 Contracting Parties working together for wetlands conservation and wise use, and to develop the best available data, advice and policy recommendations to realize the benefits of fully functional wetlands to nature and society.

In May 2013, Zimbabwe ratified the Ramsar Convention on wetlands and designated seven wetlands for this purpose.

In addition, an inter-sectoral national wetlands committee was established to oversee national Ramsar processes and the country’s wetland management in general.

By becoming a signatory, Zimbabwe commemorates World Wetlands Day each year, raising awareness and disseminating information on the sustainable use of wetlands.

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