Every year, Rwanda joins the world in commemoration of the World Wetlands Day (WWD), celebrated on 2nd February with the aim of raising public awareness on the value and benefits of wetlands. At National level, this year’s WWD celebration take today place on 31st January 2020 with a conference at Kigali Convention center
This year’s celebration was preceded by the “National Wetlands Week” which runs from 25th up to 31st January. The week mainly focused on activities aimed at raising awareness on the vital role of wetlands for people and planet. These activities included joint inspections on rehabilitation of recent vacated wetland sites, Public Lectures on wetlands degradation in Rwanda with the loss of biodiversity and necessary actions to stop this loss as well as TV/radio programmes highlighting wetland biodiversity, its status, why it matters to reverse its loss as WWD theme for this year is “Wetlands and Biodiversity”.
In Rwanda, wetlands play an essential role as valuable natural infrastructure for agriculture, carbon sinks, water purification, soil fertility and erosion control, floods buffering as well as relieving droughts.
“Wetlands are often considered “nature’s kidneys.” These Kidneys remove impurities and waste from land and water. Wetland loss impacts on biodiversity and often wetland loss is the result of human activity past and present, so we have to stand committed to conserving wetlands because they are assets for the Sustainable Development and the green growth targeted by our Country” says Eng. Coletha U. RUHAMYA, the Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).
“Celebrating the world wetland day is a good opportunity for Rwanda to build upon the achievements made in environmental conservation and protection especially in the effort of wise use of wetlands and restoration of degraded ones” adds the Director General.
Wetlands are vital for humans, for other ecosystems and for our climate, providing essential ecosystem services such as water regulation, including flood control and water purification. Wetland biodiversity matters for our health, our food supply, for tourism and for jobs. Wetlands also absorb carbon dioxide, help slow global heating and reduce pollution, hence have often been referred to as the Kidneys of the Earth
Rwanda has 935 marshlands covering 10.6 percent of the Rwandan surface area as per the 2017 Prime Minister’s Order drawing up a list of swamp lands, their characteristics and boundaries and determining modalities of their use, development and management.
More about World Wetlands Day
The World Wetlands Day marks the date of the adoption of Ramsar Convention also called “Convention on Wetlands of International Importance”adopted in Ramsar (Iran), on February 2, 1971.
Rwanda signed the convention on 29th December 2003 and entered into force on 1st April 2006. Rwanda won Green Globe Award for the restoration of Rugezi-Burera-Ruhondo wetland in 2010, classified Ramsar site in Rwanda.