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Ramsar wants governments to enforce law on ecological crimes
Date Published: 25 Feb, 2013
The outgoing Secretary General for the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Mr. Anada Tiega, has urged Governments across the globe to put in place stringent legal frameworks to control adverse activities which are at destroying ecosystems
He said this when he paid Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) a courtesy visit and met senior scientists from KWS, National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Group (KENWEB) National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS).
Terming it as “Eco-cide”, Mr. Anaga said that science and policy should be considered for posterity to safeguard nature and ecosystems across the globe. “I’m encouraged by several action oriented projects going on in Kenya and we should advocate for more people to use conventions as a tool to achieve rapid ecosystem management.” He added.
Mr. Anaga stated that protecting the wetlands from a wider perspective landscape and seascape that include their catchment areas was a huge success and was bound to yield positive results in safeguarding sustainable development. He also said that he has worked with several organizations such as United Nations, various international NGOs among others including specifically World Health Organization (WHO), UN HABITAT and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) on issues of water resource and wetlands management. He elaborated matters of Health, food security, integrating wetlands /urban development and economic development through tourism.
He was in Kenya to attend the 27th Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum among other meetings from February 17 to 26.He highlighted some issues that were discussed at the UNEP Governing Council that relate to wetlands noting that it is very critical to ensure that wetlands are conserved and wisely used.
KWS Deputy Director Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Dr. Samuel Kasiki welcomed him on behalf the KWS Director Mr. William Kiprono. Dr. Kasiki thanked him for having made time to come to KWS and meet teams working on wetland projects in the country as well as implementing the Ramsar Convention. KWS Head of Conventions Dr. James Njogu gave a presentation where he provided an overview of Ramsar implementation in Kenya and outlined various activities, successes and challenges that include climate change, population growth, attitude towards wetlands- among others including institutional and policies matters.
KWS Senior Scientist- Wetlands, Dr. Judith Nyunja also welcomed the Secretary General and mentioned that all Ramsar sites have management plans that seek to manage them at a National Level. She added that there has been awareness creation and a National Atlas of Wetlands in Kenya was launched last year.
“KWS has been engaged in protecting wetlands and water towers across the country and we are using that to harness Kenya’s ecological integrity.”She said.
The Ramsar Convention recently declared the Tana Delta as a Wetland of International Importance effectively becoming one of the newest Ramsar sites in Africa and indeed the world. The addition of the Tana River Delta now brings to six the number of Ramsar sites in the country. The others include Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, Lake Bogoria, Lake Baringo and Lake Elementaita. Other sites proposed for designation as Ramsar sites include the Yala swamp, Saiwa swamp and the trans-boundary Sio-Siteko wetland ecosystem.
An official launch to mark the designation of Tana River Delta as a Ramsar site will be held soon. The Tana Delta is the second most important estuarine and deltaic ecosystem in Eastern Africa. It comprises a variety of freshwater, floodplain, estuarine and coastal habitats with extensive and diverse mangrove systems.