Why our wetlands matter

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OFFICIAL: P.M. Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi opened the Park as a designated site.

OFFICIAL: P.M. Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi opened the Park as a designated site.

World Wetlands Day 2016 celebrates youth and their important role in promoting wetlands. 

The theme, ‘Wetlands for our Future; Sustainable Livelihoods’ highlights the vital role of wetlands for the current and future wellbeing of humanity and to promote the wise utilization of all sorts of wetlands. 

Many people depend on wetlands to supply fresh water for their 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, selling water, construction, weaving, medicine, transport, tourism etc. 

For these people, healthy wetlands are essential for their livelihood and vital for their wellbeing. 

Yet coastal, marine and inland wetlands are declining fast. 

Approximately 40 percent have degraded in just over 40 years according to the Wetland Extent Trend and this decline is continuing at an accelerated rate of 1.5 percent annually.

Youth are the primary target audience for World Wetlands Day. 

These young adults are the decision-makers of the future and are showing a growing interest in environmental issues and finding solutions. 

They 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.

World Wetlands Day was celebrated in Samoa on Tuesday. The official opening ceremony was held at the O Le Pūpū Pu’ē (O.L.P.P.) National Park, Togitogiga.

This was followed by a presentation by the Ministry, community tree planting, cultural entertainment and a poem competition by youths of Falealili and Siumu to highlight the significance of wetlands for the conservation of our globally significant biological diversity and sustaining life through the vital ecosystem services they provide. 

The O.L.P.P. National Park was also officially designated as the Second Wetlands of International Importance for Samoa and embodies the government’s commitment to ensure that the site and its resources are conserved and sustainably used. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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