World Wetlands Day 2017 in Guyana

Wetlands in the North Rupununi
© Juliana Persaud


February 2, 2017 is World Wetlands Day (WWD), an international observance established in 1997 by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, reminds us all how important wetlands are for our planet, and for our lives. The Ramsar Secretariat has identified this year’s theme as “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction”.
A lot of the work that WWF does in Guyana revolves around wetlands, their sustainable management and their conservation.
In fact, wetlands are a fundamental part of our ecosystems and biodiversity, important for a variety of reasons.
First they play a key role in the support of our country’s biological diversity: wetlands provide a place of refuge, migration routes and feeding grounds for many species. Birds such as the Jabiru and mammals such as the Giant Otter are both pretty common within this habitat. Second they facilitate decomposition and storage of precious chemicals such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, thus enabling geochemical and biogeochemical cycles. Thanks to their chemical properties, they also purify the water, filtering suspended solids and other types of waste materials from it.
Third they have an aesthetic and socio-economic value: they can in fact be important recreational areas with a high touristic value.
But most importantly, wetlands can play a key role in protecting us from natural disasters.
It is thus especially important that all peoples, organizations and state institutions work together to protect these important ecosystems from prevailing pressures, which threaten the very existence of these important ecosystems.
We must ensure that policies and long-term actions are affected to better manage our wetlands to ensure we protect our natural richness and the ecosystems services we all benefit from.
To remind us all about the importance of wetlands, WWF Guianas - in partnership with the Department of Environment Ministry of the Presidency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Protected Areas Commission (PAC)- has organized a panel discussion on the topic, which has been aired on February 2nd 2017 on Guyana's NCN NEWS Channel.