Ramsar to host World Wetlands Day ceremony

January 27, 2018

TEHRAN — Iran will mark the World Wetlands Day in a ceremony which is scheduled to be held in the northern city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar in 1971.

The Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands approved "Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future" as the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2018.

The Ramsar Convention is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 

The Convention came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.

The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems. They provide essential services and supply all our fresh water. However, they continue to be degraded and converted to other uses. 

The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.

Iran currently has 24 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 1,486,438 hectares.

Unfortunately wetlands in Iran are suffering drainage to various extents. The mismanagement in agriculture and water sector as well as climate change are among the most important reasons for the lakes disappearance in Iran.

There are more than 250 wetlands in Iran of which 28 are suffering dryness and have turned into hotspots for sand and dust storms, Hamid Zohrabi, caretaker for natural environment directorate at the Department of Environment (DOE) said on Saturday. 

Unsustainable development at the wetlands basin is the major culprit of the current situation, Mehr news agency quoted Zohrabi as saying. 

As director for wetlands ecosystem office of the DOE Masoud Baqerzadeh has explained on Saturday only 30 percent of the wetlands restoration programs are completed at best as only one third of the wetlands budget is actually allocated to the revival projects. 

Lake Urmia, northwestern Iran, Hamoun, eastern Iran, and Hour-al-Azim in southwestern Iran are some of the main wetlands in Iran suffering unprecedented dryness and are causing great deal of inconvenience for the citizens residing the regions. 

MQ/MG

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