World Wetlands 2023
World Wetlands Day, observed annually on February 02, is marked today with the aim of raising global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet.
This year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced the theme for World Wetlands Day as “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration”, which highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration.
Meanwhile, the Director of Protected Area Management of the Department of Wildlife Conservation Manjula Amararatne said that several programs have been organized across Sri Lanka coinciding with World Wetlands Day.
He pointed out that several programs have been launched by the Wildlife Conservation Department together with the Forest Conservation Department, in order to protect and restore mangroves, which are an especially important wetland ecosystem.
“The Wildlife Conservation Department is currently restoring an area that has been degraded due to shrimp farming in the Anawilundawa sanctuary in a very scientific manner”, he added.
World Wetlands Day also marks the date of the adoption of Convention on Wetlands on February 02, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
Nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and the wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests, the UNEP noted, issuing a statement with regard to World Wetlands Day 2023.
Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies, and more, it added.
It is urgent that we raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them, according to the UNEP.
However, the UNEP also highlighted that World Wetlands Day is the ideal time to increase people’s understanding of these critically important ecosystems, adding that Wetlands’ ecological services contribute $47.4 trillion annually to human health, happiness, and security.