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Bwabwata hosts World Water Day

With this year marking twenty years since the inauguration of the Ramsar Convention, a world-wide wetlands photo competition has been launched to commemorate this convention. In Namibia, the competition is run under the auspices of the Ministry of Water, Agriculture and Forestry. This recognition of the international importance of wetlands brought countries together in a town called Ramsar in Iran to adopt the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance known as the Ramsar Convention.

Namibia has assigned five Ramsar sites, the Orange Ricer mouth, Sandwhich Harbour, Walvis Bay wetlands, Etosha pan and the Bwabwata-Okavango Ramsar sites where this year’s celebrations will be held.
World Wetlands Day this year will be celebrated under the theme “wetlands for a sustainable future” at the Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute on 25 March.
“The theme aims at enticing and mobilizing the youth to become involved in the issues and problems affecting the management and sustainability of wetlands,” a statement from the ministry said. Wetlands are under enormous environmental pressure to due to human activities such as poor waste management leading to increased pollution. As done in the past the global awareness day targets learners from sixth to ninth grade, this year at local schools around Divundu and Andara.
The commemoration will also involve the Nature Conservation students from the Polytechnic of Namibia. The schools will be invited to prepare a short drama about the Okavango river wetlands and what they can do to help ensure a sustainable future for the wetland. The participating learners are all from communities that depend on the Okavango river as a source of sustenance.
The school learners and Polytechnic students will also participate in educational excursions which will include a game drive in the Muhongo core area, the identification of forest trees along the Frans Dimbare river, a visit to agricultural schemes and the assessment of the water quality at Popa Falls.  The learners will present their excursion findings and give feedback on the experience to dignitaries the next day. The main Ramsar focus, however, is the photo competition for youth aged 15 to 24. Participants can visit a wetland where they live, take a photo and upload it on the Ramsar site at www.ramsar.org.

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