The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) joins the global community in the celebration of World Wetland’s Day (WWD) on February 2, 2012 with the theme “Wetlands and Tourism”. The slogan is Wetland Tourism: A great experience while Responsible tourism supports wetlands and people, as its sub-slogan.
The said event coincides with our celebration of the National Wetland Day as provided under Proclamation No. 74 dated February 4, 1992.
WWD is celebrated every 2nd day of February because it marks the date of the adoption of the Convention of Wetlands, the oldest of the global environmental inter-governmental agreements having been established in the Iranian City of Ramsar on the shore of the Caspian Seas. It addresses all wetlands issues – from the mountains to the sea – and covers Inland Wetlands: marshes, lakes, rivers, peat lands, and forested wetlands; Coastal and Near-shore Marine Systems: coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries, etc. to six-meter water depth; and Human-made Wetlands: reservoir, dams, fishponds, rice paddies, etc.
In Zamboanga Peninsula, the DENR 9 headed by Regional Executive Director (RED) Arleigh J. Adorable has lined-up various activities to be undertaken from January 30 to February 29 that aimed to create public awareness and participation focusing on the importance of wetlands and tourism, to wit: guesting and plugging at the local radio stations, hanging of streamers, WWD opening program, Eco-tourism site visitation, Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaign in schools and communities, identification/orientation of selected groups about wetlands, evaluation of wetland activities, WWD culmination program, among others.
Tourism businesses can promote and support wetland biodiversity conservation by Reducing pollution from tourism activities, particularly by ensuring that all liquid and solid wastes are properly treated and disposed of in ways that do not result to damage biodiversity and minimizing use of pesticides, fertilizers and toxic chemicals; Obtaining all food stuffs and other biological resources used in tourism activities from sustainably managed resources; Supporting biodiversity conservation by government agencies and NGOs through practical actions including financial contributions through sponsorships and voluntary donations; Ensuring that no threatened or endangered species are put at risk from tourism supply chain (esp. as food and souvenirs); and Sing the communications and marketing strengths of the tourism sector to raise the awareness of tourists and destination authorities of the value of biodiversity and the steps they can take to protect it. UNWTO (2010) Tourism &Biodiversity Achieving Goals Towards Sustainability, WTO, Madrid, Spain
The Philippines is one of 159 Contracting Parties of the Convention that are committed to “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”. Ramsar WWD 2012 Brochure
The Ramsar Convention has three pillars of implementation, namely: THE WISE USE (sustainable use) of all wetlands; DESIGNATION AND MANGEMENT OF WETLANDS OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE (Ramsar sites) – including 1,836 wetland sites, totaling 172 million hectares largest global “protected areas networks; major contribution on the ground delivery of convention of Biological Diversity protected areas programme of work; and INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION – shared river basins, transboundary wetlands, flyway networks for migrating water birds, and sharing of information and expertise. ASEAN Biodiversity p. 26 Vol. 8, No.2 May-August 2009