Today the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) Forestry Division will be leading Samoa for the 2016 world wetlands day.
The theme is : “Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods”, celebrating youth and their important roles in promoting wetlands.
Elizabeth Kerstin, the Principle of Forestry Research and Development Officer and Coordinator of the World Wetlands Day in Samoa told the Samoa Observer, “The theme highlights the vital role of wetlands for the current and future wellbeing of humanity and to promote the wise use of all sorts of wetlands.”
Many people depend on wetlands to supply freshwater for daily needs, but more than one billion people around the world depend directly on wetlands to earn an income through activities such as; fishing, farming, and selling water, construction, weaving, medicine, transport and tourism.
“For those who depend on wetlands for daily activities, healthy wetlands are essential for their livelihoods and vital for their wellbeing. Yet coastal, marine and inland wetlands are declining fast. Approximately 40% have been degraded in just over 40 years according to the Wetland Extent Trend, and this decline is continuing at an accelerating rate of 1.5 % annually,” Ms Kerstin said.
The youth is the primary target audience for World Wetlands Day.
These young adults are the decision-makers of the future and they are showing a growing interest in environmental issues and finding solutions.
“The youth act as ‘transmitters’ of ideas and are now using social media platforms to raise awareness beyond their physical location about issues that they care about. Other equally important audiences are policy-makers, wetland practitioners, children, local communities and the general public,” Ms Kerstin said.
The official opening ceremony will be held at O Le Pūpū Pu’ē (OLPP) National Park, Togitogiga, followed by a presentation by the Ministry, a community tree planting, a cultural entertainment and poem competition by youth of Falealili and Siumu.
This is to highlight the significance of wetlands for the conservation of our globally significant biological diversity, sustaining life through vital ecosystem services that they provide.
O.L.P.P. National Park will be officially designated as the Second Wetlands of International Importance for Samoa and it will embody the government’s commitment to ensure that the site and its resources are conserved and sustainably used. “Come along, be informed of these efforts and actively participate to protect our precious wetlands”, Ms Kerstin said.