Close this search box.

2023 World Wetlands Day: Revive Priceless Wetlands


By: Ama Kudom Agyeman, a Journalist

This year’s celebration of World Wetlands Day, marks the 52nd anniversary of the Day, instituted to raise global awareness about the critical role of wetlands in sustaining human lives and the earth. This day also commemorates the date when the Convention on Wetlands was adopted on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.  Also known as the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is uniquely distinct as the first modern treaty among nations purposely to conserve natural resources. The Ramsar Convention remains the only global understanding with the sole objective of protecting and conserving a specific ecosystem – “Wetlands” together with the plants and wildlife, especially waterfowls that depend on them. Wetlands form wherever land meets water, and include freshwater and marine as well as coastal ecosystems such as all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and all human-made sites including fishponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and saltpans. Though they cover only around 6 per cent of the earth’s land surface, 40 percent of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands. Wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to the integrity of biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, a vibrant fisheries industry, livelihoods of local communities as well as local, national and world economies. But despite its significant role in sustaining life on earth, wetlands are the most abused ecosystems in the world.

Experts say to date, nearly 90 percent of the world’s wetlands have been degraded or lost. The rate of wetland losses is said to be three times faster that of the forest ecosystem. And this rate of wetlands destruction, according to the Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, Dr. Musonda Mumba is alarming. In a statement to mark the Day, Dr. Mumba reminded the global community that with only seven years left until 2030 for the world to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, time is of the essence in saving the wetland ecosystems. The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030), is one of the UN’s flagship initiatives launched during the celebration of World Environment Day, on 5th June, 2021. This initiative is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals. This is important because, it is only with healthy ecosystems can the livelihoods of people be enhanced, climate change counteracted, and the collapse of biodiversity halted.

The Secretary-General’s proposed actions include an urgent raising of global awareness on wetlands to arrest and reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to restore and conserve these vital ecosystems. Another proposal is the need to mobilize all relevant players from the general public to key stakeholders, in a generational move for wetland restoration. The Secretary General’s proposals are apt, especially as the theme for the celebration is in-line with the objectives of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The declaration of the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030) is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems, and restore them to achieve global goals.

This provides a great opportunity for all to rethink and change how we are impacting the environment as well as a chance to restore vital ecosystems like wetlands. Again, it is gratifying to note that the recent adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes targets for protecting and restoring wetlands, has added significance to this year’s World Wetlands Day celebration. This is the result of the persistence of the coalition of NGOs, governments, political and indigenous leaders, in prevailing upon negotiators on the Framework, in the understanding that bringing wetlands back into good condition, is essential to safeguard all other ecosystems – and to achieve a just and safe planet.

In Ghana, the Forestry Commission’s Wildlife Division responsible for managing wetlands collaborated with the Media Platform on Environment and Climate Change (MPEC), to mark the national celebration of World Wetlands Day with a media interaction at the Densu Delta Ramsar Site. The expectation is that the country will harness the goal of the global decade of restoration and objectives of the Global Biodiversity Framework to take urgent steps to revive our priceless wetlands like Sakumo and other wetlands that are under siege through encroachment and conversion.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *