WINDHOEK – ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’ will be the theme for the 13th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (well-known as the Ramsar Convention) to be held towards the end of this year.
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The meeting will be held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) from the 21st – 29th October 2018. Wetlands provides important goods and services to human beings such as flood control, water, fish, thatching grass and reeds.
According to the Convention’s website, delegates from Contracting Parties will assess progress in the implementation of the Convention and the wise use of wetlands and plan their own work and that of the Secretariat for the next triennium.
The meeting will be attended by about 1,200 representatives from governments of Contracting Parties. Namibia is a party to the Ramsar Convention and has so far designated five wetlands for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
These are the Sandwich Harbour, Etosha Pan, Walvis Bay Lagoon, Orange River Mouth and the Lower Okavango. The Senior Conservation Scientist in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Holger Kolberg, said it is important that Namibia attend this meeting as signatory to the Ramsar Convention.
He said Namibia is doing fairly well in preserving its wetlands, despite the country facing economic hardships at the moment.
The Ramsar Convention was signed on 2nd February in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar (located on the shores of the Caspian Sea) and came into force on 21st December 1975.
The last Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention was held in Punta del Este (Uruguay) in 2015. Namibia acceded to the Ramsar Convention 23rd December 1995.
Some of the threats facing wetlands globally include over-exploitation of water and wetlands resources due to human population growth and poverty and lack of education on the importance of wetlands.
The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention is hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland.