Namibia To Add More Wetlands For Conservation

8 Feb 2024

Wetlands on our planet are very important for animals, plants and the climate. Over the last hundred years, many wetlands have disappeared due to drainage, housing construction and climate change. Wetlands must be preserved.

Therefore, a few years ago an International Wetlands Day was introduced, which is celebrated on 02 February. The theme this year was “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing” to highlight that wetland landscapes promote well-being and mental health.

Namibia has so far designated five wetlands of international importance, commonly known as Ramsar sites.

Three are coastal: the Walvis Bay wetlands, the Sandwich Harbour wetlands and the Orange River Estuary. Two are inland: the Etosha Pan and the Bwabwata-Okavango Ramsar site.

A Ramsar site is a wetland regarded to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an international environmental treaty signed on 02 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, under the auspices of UNESCO. It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands. Ramsar identifies wetlands of international importance, especially those providing waterfowl habitat.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) announced on 02 February 2024, the good news, that another Ramsar wetland site will be added.

“The Bushmanland Pans, including the Nyae Nyae Pan, will be recognised as Namibia's sixth wetland and Ramsar site, the MEFT stated.

The ministry emphasized that wetlands provide water and food and that healthy, well-vegetated floodplains can also protect people from flooding.

The ministry pointed out that every year many tourists visit the cost, Sossuvlei, Etosha Pan, Epupa Falls, lodges in the Kavango and Zambezi regions and the Etosha Pan to enjoy the wetlands, for bird watching, wildlife watching, fishing or experiencing its beauty.

“We need wetlands for our health, and wetlands need us to keep them healthy. We must all take an active role in conserving our healthy wetlands and restoring those that have been degraded,” the ministry said.

Brigitte Weidlich

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