February 2 is World Wetlands Day, an international day focused on highlighting the importance of wetlands to community livelihoods and aims to raise public awareness of wetland values.
Activities highlighting the significance of wetland ecosystems will be held throughout the area of the Lower Mekong River, in countries involved in the Mekong Water Dialogues (MWD) initiaive: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. IUCN and the MWD partner organisations will come together for a variety of events to mark World Wetlands Day.
In Cambodia, in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, a celebration will be held at Kampong Loung Primary School, Kampong Loung District, Poursat Province (located in the western part of the country). The school is located near Tonlé Sap, which is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and central to the MWD program in Cambodia. A television and radio broadcast will also promote awareness of wetlands around the country.
Beung Kiat Ngong is one of Lao PDR’s first wetlands to be designated as a Ramsar site; a Wetland of International Importance. It will also be the site for local World Wetlands Day activities on February 5th this year. Convened by IUCN and the Champassak Provincial Government, government representatives, teachers and students, journalists and civil society participants will join in a workshop, as well as games and quizzes for school children. This event will also provide an opportunity to highlight the work MWD is undertaking in the area in direct partnership with local authorities.
IUCN Viet Nam will join with the Vietnam Environment Administration to organize a national celebration. The event is planned to be held at Ba Be National Park located in in Bắc Kạn Province, Northeast Viet Nam. The site is currently nominated for the third Ramsar site in Viet Nam. The theme for the local celebration this year is “Youth and Wetland Conservation”.
The Thailand Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, a member of the Thai MWD National Working Group, is holding a two-day workshop to showcase wetland conservation and priority future research and action on wetland wise use in Thailand. All MWD national working group members were also invited to share the session on wetland management and conservation. IUCN will join the seminar sessions and display MWD project information, including highlights of projects on water onion conservation and water management from the Andaman coast.
February 2 marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. This year the theme for World Wetlands day is Forests for water and wetlands, focusing on the Forested wetlands and the special benefits they bring.
The MWD aims to improve water governance by facilitating transparent and inclusive decision-making to improve livelihood security, human and ecosystem health in the Lower Mekong River area. MWD is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland.