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World Wetlands Day celebrated in SVG

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The National Parks, River and Beaches Authority, in collaboration with the Forestry Department, Fisheries Division, Integrated Forest Management and Development Programme, Environmental Services Unit and the Central Water and Sewage Authority, joined the world in celebrating World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2009.{{more}} This year, World Wetlands Day was celebrated under the theme “Upstream, downstream: wetlands connect us all. This day is designated by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat or commonly known as Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The convention promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands, recognizing that wetlands ecosystems are extremely important for conservation of biological diversity.

Under the text of the Convention (Article 1.1), wetlands are defined as: “areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.”

Examples of wetlands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines would include river estuaries, salt ponds, small pockets of mangrove swamps, the crater lake at old La Soufriere and the Tobago Keys Marine Park.

Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not a signatory to this convention, it was important to use the day to raise public awareness of wetlands ecology and other important environmental issues that affect us from a national and global perspective. The event was expected to take the form of a panel discussion comprising the nation’s top environmentalist and professionals in this field who looked at wetlands values, anthropogenic and climatic threats to wetlands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the potential benefits to be derived from signing on to the Ramsar Convention.

The Panel Discussion was scheduled take place at the National Trust Headquarters (downstairs the Carnegie Building/ Old Public Library) at 6:30pm on Monday, 2nd February, 2009.

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