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EVENTS - 2012

World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2012

World Wetlands Day is an annual event that commemorates the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian City of Ramsar. Each year, the celebration focuses on a different theme to highlight different challenges affecting wellbeing of the environment.

The theme for 2012 Wetlands Day is “Wetlands and Tourism. In South Africa (SA), the theme was localised by adding a slogan “Enhancing Community Livelihoods” because of linkages between wetlands conservation and tourism.

This year’s event was celebrated in Limpopo. The day started with a visit to the Mapimbi and Rietbuck vlei wetlands in the northern part of Kruger National Park known as the Pafuri Triangle. The area lies between Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.

Makuleke Wetlands were declared a Ramsar site in June 2007 and is the first Ramsar site owned and co-managed by the community, not only in SA but world-wide. After a successful land claim, the Makuleke Community Property Association and SANParks established a joint management board to manage the community’s ecotourism business ventures which created 88 jobs for community members.

 2012 World Wetlands Day celebration was organised by the Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with the Departments of Water Affairs, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as well as Water Research Commission and South African National Biodiversity Institute (Working for Wetlands). The purpose of this Day is to recognise the values and benefits the public and the economy derive from wetlands.

This year’s focus was on the inter-linkages between wetlands and forests and the government’s role in the mitigation of climate change. This also helped in heighten public awareness towards ensuring collective efforts in the protection of forests and wetlands in the fight against climate change.