Kenya will join the rest of the world to commemorate the World Wetlands Day, 2012 and national celebrations will be held on 2 February 2012 at Ombaka Primary School, Kisumu County. The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every 2nd February of each year and the theme for this year is Wetlands and Tourism. The theme is intended to demonstrate tourism as one of the key services that wetlands deliver.
The Water and Wetlands Programme of IUCN ESARO is supporting the National Steering Committee coordinated by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to prepare for the celebrations aimed at raising public awareness and consciousness on the importance of wetlands in tourism development.
As one of the build-up activities for the celebration, the general public has been invited to a panel discussion on: Wetland Tourism: Delivering Vision 2030 in Kenya to be held on 27th January 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Panelists are drawn from institutions and organizations dealing with wetland management, conservation and tourism development including the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, VIRED International, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Kenya Tourism Board, and Wetlands International.
‘Promoting sustainable tourism in Wetlands can significantly contribute to improved livelihoods of the people using them as a resource; therefore, the solution to poverty reduction and improved livelihood can be realized by embracing the wise use principle,” says John Owino, Water and Wetlands Programme Officer at IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office.
Sustainable tourism has increasingly been regarded as possible solution to the reduction of poverty in wetland areas as well as contributing significantly to the entire GDP of the nation. Historically, tourists have frequented Kenyan wetlands including Lakes Bogoria, Nakuru, Victoria, Naivasha among others. Generally, the Kenya Ramsar sites, the Masaai Mara as well as the coastal wetlands constitute tourism hotspot areas in the country. This is why the government has prioritized Water-Based Tourism under the niche products Initiative in Kenya Vision 2030. However, finding a balance between wetland conservation and sustainable tourism is often challenging hence raising public awareness on these issues is therefore imperative.
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention), is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention was adopted on 2nd February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar and came into force in 1975. Kenya became a Party to the Ramsar Convention in 1990 and enlisted Lake Nakuru as the first Ramsar site.
For more information contact: John P. Owino, IUCN ESARO email: firstname.lastname@example.org