Dhaka Observes World Wetland Day

04 March 2008 | News story

2nd February each year is World Wetlands Day. It 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.

Dhaka, 07 February 2008 (IUCN) – 2nd February each year is World Wetlands Day. It 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, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular. The Convention’s suggested theme for World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2008, is Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People. The topics to be covered this year are: Wetland food, Clean water, Water pollution, Water-related diseases, Floods, Burning peatlands, Water availability, Wetland medicines and Mental well-being.

To commemorate the World Wetlands Day 2008, IUCN Bangladesh and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) have organized a discussion programme at the CIRDAP Auditorium on 3rd February 2008 at 4:00 p.m. Special Assistant to Chief Adviser, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Mr. Raja Devesish Roy presided over the event as Chief Guest. In his speech, Mr. Roy talked about the intricate linkages between human well-being and ecosystems, as well as people’s dependence on nature for livelihood sustenance.

Ainun Nishat, Country Representative of IUCN B., deliberated the introductory speech. He said that the World Wetlands Day had a special significance, since 2/3rd of the country consisted of wetlands in Bangladesh, including two internationally significant wetlands, namely the Sundarbans and Tanguar Haor.

Raquibul Amin, Programme Coordinator of IUCN B., delivered the keynote presentation. He provided a brief overview of the project that is being implemented by IUCN and SDC at Tanguar Haor – in order to demonstrate the co-management model of natural resource management.

A number of designated discussants were also called upon stage to voice their opinions, namely Mr. Porikkhit Chowdhury from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock; Mr. Mokhlesur Rahman from CNRS; Quamrul Islam Chowdhury from FEJB. Mr. Asif Munier also spoke on the occasion on behalf of SDC. A lively open discussion also took place amongst the participants.

The Chief Guest Barrister Raja Devesish Roy, Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser, Ministry of Environment and Forests delivered an elucidating speech on this auspicious day. He said that all sectors should work towards a ‘common goal’, based on the approaches advocated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Rio Summit. Barrister Roy also spoke of the need for participation, especially the local communities, as they have the key to traditional indigenous knowledge and wisdom.

The Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forests, A H M Rezaul Kabir, ndc remarked that environment needs to be mainstreamed with poverty and development projects. In his opinion, all stakeholders have a ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ to conserve natural resources.

M. Qamar Munir, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests delivered the vote of thanks and urged everyone to go for ‘wise use’ of the wetlands and their resources.