MNS Celebrates World Wetlands Day 2014
‘The Forum’s Resolution is the result from the discussions and recommendations from the participants. As a guiding document, the Resolution is open to viewpoints from MNS members and the public. You can download the forum’s summary statement below. Please send us your comments by 28 February 2014 to Sonny Wong, Wetlands Programme Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrated annually on the 2nd of February each year, World Wetlands Day commemorates the Ramsar Convention. Signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran the Convention is the only one to exist that places wise use of and conservation of wetlands at its core. This year’s World Wetlands Day theme is Wetlands & Agriculture: Partners for Growth. The theme explores the interdependencies of agriculture to the wetlands ecosystem. Responding to the necessity of agriculture in supporting the livelihoods of its citizens, many countries have felt the need to convert wetland areas for agricultural purposes.
The Ramsar Convention does not deny the innumerable economic benefits wetlands bring to countries. However, it is these aggressive forms of agricultural practices that are the main cause of environmental degradation. The Convention advocates for sustainable land use and aims to improve agricultural practices on wetland areas to limit water withdrawn from wetlands and discourage their conversion for agriculture. Rather than focusing on intensification of agricultural practices, adaptation techniques, utilising local traditional practices with new technological support will help manage the land and water system without losing wetlands and help maintain balance to the ecosystem.
With this year’s theme of World Wetlands Day focusing specifically on agricultural, let’s zoom in and look at the case of Malaysia. Being the state with the third largest area of mangroves, Selangor’s coastal mangroves are of high ecological importance, providing refuge for wildlife and socio-economic benefits to the community surrounding it. The mainly rural populations that depend on the coastline are engaged in activities ranging from fisheries to ecotourism, including agriculture. The mud and sand flats along the coast are also the biggest cockles spat in the country. These practices highlight the significance of the North Central Selangor Coastline as a wetlands area that provides agricultural opportunities for the community.
Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) is centrally located along the North Central Selangor Coast. A mangrove area, it supports a strong fishing community. Furthermore KSNP witnesses one of the largest migration of water birds within the region. KSNP lies within the one of the most important flyway sites in Malaysia. Due to the significance of the area for the migratory process of the water birds the wetland reserve is of regional and global importance. As a result of this MNS is actively proposing for KSNP to be a designated Ramsar Site, under the Flyway Campaign.
WWD 2014 celebration was a joint one between MNS and Majlis Daerah Kuala Selangor, playing host to a forum on KSNP for Ramsar and to brief and discuss with the three District Councilors of Kuala Selangor, Klang and Sabak Bernam together with other relevant government bodies. Rakan Taman Alam or Friends of Nature Park will also be launched. This is a volunteer programme for Kuala Selangor Nature Park and is open to school children and youths.