Minister’s message – 2021 World Wetland Day

World Wetland day is an annual event celebrated globally on February 2nd to raise awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.  This day marks the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971.  Seychelles joined this convention together with 18 other countries.

The theme for the year is ‘Water, Wetlands and Life are inseparable”. In simple terms, water, wetland and life cannot exist without each other, just as we cannot survive without water.

Wetlands are important ecosystems with significant ecological and economical functions.  They are ideal habitats for nearly 40% of global biodiversity and provide us with water we use.  They are also rich in natural resources and protect us by acting as a big natural sponge to reduce flooding, especially in low lying areas.

Some wetlands are recognizes globally for their ecological importance and these are designated as Ramsar Sites.  A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.  Globally, there are 2,414 globally designated, globally designated Ramsar Wetland sites, spread over 171 member countries with more than 255 million hectares.  Seychelles has three sites wetland sites with important international importance.  .  This shows the growing extension of the convention and the participation of the member countries and their involvement in the wetlands protection, conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

In the past, large area of wetlands were destroyed primarily for reclamation to development.  Government recognize those threats and have revised its policy to protect wetlands.  Furthermore, Government has taken additional steps to restore wetland areas that have been degraded.  With the financial support of  adaptation funds, Government has embarked on projects to restore various wetlands at Val den Dor, North East Point and Anse Royale.  The restored wetlands are now  the Agriculture sector and at the same time replenishing the ground water while protecting from heavy surface runoff and flooding events during inclined weathers

As  wetlands contributes to our water resource and for our health, let us join hand in protecting and conserving the values of wetland and its services.