South Africa commemorates World Wetlands Day

Event date: 
2020-02-02 00:00 to 23:30

                 
Background
 
Theme
 
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Background

 

2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.

South Africa is one of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention). South Africa signed the Ramsar Convention in 1971 at its inception and the membership was formalised in 1975 when South Africa ratified the Convention and became the fifth contracting party. One of the obligations of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention is to commemorate the World Wetlands Day (WWD).

South Africa is a water scarce country, and the water in many streams is polluted. Both droughts and floods are common. In this regards, wetlands play a vital role by removing toxic substances and sediment from water, while also improving downstream water quality and the overall health of communities.

Wetlands are able to reduce the severity of droughts and floods by regulating stream flow. They also help to purify water and provide habitat for many different plants and animals. Besides these indirect benefits to society, wetlands provide many direct benefits in the form of resources such as fibre for making crafts as well as recreational opportunities. However lack of community awareness on the value and benefits of wetlands often leads to their transformation by humans.

Theme

 

"Wetlands and Biodiversity" is the theme for 2020. Wetlands are rich with biodiversity and are a habitat for a dense variety of plant and animal species. Latest estimates show a global decline of biodiversity, while wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. This year's theme is a unique opportunity to highlight wetland biodiversity, its status, why it matters and promote actions to reverse its loss.

 

Related media content

 

 

South Africa marks World Wetlands Day

Today, 2 February 2020, South Africa joins the nations of the world in celebration of the World Wetland Day under the theme: Wetlands and Biodiversity, to raise awareness about these precious ecosystems as a source of fresh water. Wetlands are rich with biodiversity and provide habitats for variety of plant and animal species. However, the latest Global Biodiversity Assessment indicates that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. This finding is in concurrence with recent National Biodiversity Assessment that places wetlands as the most threatened of all South Africa’s ecosystems, with 79% of wetland ecosystems being threatened.

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Related links

» https://www.ramsar.org/activity/world-wetlands-day

» https://www.worldwildlife.org/habitats/wetlands

» https://www.gov.za/WorldWetlandsDay2019

» https://medwet.org/2018/12/world-wetlands-day-2019/

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