Ramsar Convention Current Affairs - 2019
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World Wetlands Day was celebrated on February 2nd with the theme of “Wetlands and Climate Change”. The theme signifies the importance of healthy and intact wetlands to one of the most pressing challenges of our times, climate change. The theme has been chosen to initiate action against the drainage of wetlands.
The theme Wetlands and Climate Change is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of wetlands, such as swamps, marshes, mangroves or peatlands, to help us cope with and mitigate global warming.
Significance of Wetlands
The importance of Wetlands is listed below:
- Almost 90% of disasters are water-related and affects 60% of humanity that lives along coastlines by flooding and tsunamis. Wetlands are key to climate change mitigation.
- Wetlands function as a natural and extremely efficient carbon sink. For Example, peatlands which cover only 3% of land mass, absorb and store twice the amount of carbon as all the world’s forests combined.
- Wetlands act as a buffer for climate catastrophes that help communities be resilient against the immediate impacts of climate change.
Why February 2nd is celebrated as World Wetland Day?
The World Wetlands Day aims to bring attention towards the protection of the fragile wetlands which are threatened by human activity. The rate of disappearance of Wetlands is 1% which is at a higher rate than deforestation. Wetlands are also are exposed to draining and burning for agricultural enterprise and rural development, as well as rising sea levels.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February 1971 to commemorate the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention at the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The two-fold objectives of the Ramsar Convention are Conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands and stop the encroachment and loss of wetlands.
The World Wetland Day (WWD) is observed every year on 2 February to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands (also called as Ramsar Convention) in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The theme for year 2018 is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future“. The theme underlines the importance of wetlands and that the future of urban centres hinges on wetlands.
For first time, World Wetland Day was celebrated in year 1997. Since then it is observed every year to spread awareness about Ramsar Convention in particular for conservation of Wetlands. The theme for year 2017 Theme was “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction”.
Wetlands are transitional lands between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where water table is usually at or near surface or land is covered by shallow water. It may be manmade or artificial. They support rich biodiversity and provide wide range of ecosystem services such as water storage, aquifer recharge, water purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, act as carbon sinks and others.
Ramsar Convention aim to raise public awareness on conservation, proper utilisation and management of wetlands and their resources. It also seeks to promote conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout world.