Environmental Management Agency has held a consultative workshop on the Ramsar Convention COP13 draft decisions today at the rainbow towers.
The objectives of the workshop were to discuss Ramsar COP 13 draft decisions and to develop a national wetlands position paper.
Giving opening remarks the Director for Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Douglas Runyowa had this to say.
“It is important to note that wetlands are an important resource that is used to support people’s livelihoods in both urban and rural areas worldwide.”
“The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty that promotes the global wise use of wetlands. Though Zimbabwe acceded to the Convention on 3 May 2013, wetlands have always had a special place in our society.”
“From the time of accession in 2013 to date, seven wetlands were designated as Wetlands of international importance. These are Lakes Chivero and Manyame, Driefontein Grasslands, Chinhoyi Caves, Manapools, Victoria Falls National Park, Cleveland Dam and Monavale Vlei.”
“Local Authorities and communities around Driefontein grasslands have been involved in the development of Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) resulting in effective co-management of the site.”
“Wetland management issues remain immersed in serious challenges that include; non-cooperation by citizens, negative attitude by project developers, lack of appreciation on wetland values, low compliance by Local Authorities and competing human interests which tend to negate proper wetland management.”
Runyowa also added that:
“Poor wetland management can result in wetland degradation. Once a wetland had degraded the ecological and socio-economic benefits diminish drastically.It is this understanding that led to the inclusion of the ‘wise use’ concept within the Ramsar Convention that Zimbabwe has acceded.”
Globally wetlands exist in various forms and nature; these can be inland, marine, coastal and manmade. Zimbabwe is characterised with inland wetlands that include Vleis, Dambos and marshes. Management of these wetlands vary from country to country and by wetland type. Earlier this year, African countries convened in Dakar, Senegal to discuss progress in the implementation of the convention and to develop a regional wetlands position.