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05 March 2014

ERuDeF Commemorates 42nd edition of World Wetland Day

Posted in News, Views 1162

Participants pose after conference

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) joined her counterparts on February 2, 2014 to commemorate the 42nd edition of the World Wetland day under the theme "Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth".

In the South West Region, the occasion was organized by the Environmental Science Students Association, ESSA of the University of Buea. The occasion was heavily attended by students of the Departments of Environmental Science, Botany and Plant Physiology and Zoology. Also in attendance were some exco members of the Faculty of Science Students Association, FSSA-UB.

The occasion started with a presentation on the brief history of the world wetland day by the Chief of Service for Environmental and Social Management Plan at the South West Regional Delegation of Environment, Fonweban Hans Njoka. Mr. Hans named some Ramsar sites in the South West Region to paint a picture of the pressure on wetlands especially in Cameroon.

The Acting Manager in charge of Forest Resources and Conservation, Ms Limbi Blessing who represented ERuDeF cautioned participants on the wise use of wetlands. She pointed out the need to integrate conservation and development, that is changing the focus of wetland management from protection to wise use. She pointed out that the major constraint in Cameroon is the lack of knowledge by government planners, managers of natural resources and local communities of the diverse benefits wetlands provide and how they can be utilized for agriculture in a sustainable manner. She went further to recommend partnership and education as the way forward. "The government alone cannot save our wetlands, so we all have to join hands'' she said. She pointed out that wetland farmers in Cameroon are not aware that it is a complex and fragile system and the major processes that keep it must be maintained lest it collapses.

The event also saw a presentation of a poem from one of the students, a quiz and a dance. Other participants from ERuDeF included , the Publicity Officer in charge of special Projects, Ndimuh Bertrand and Coordinator of IBiNS, Ngueping Samuel.

It is worth noting that 2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014. Wetlands are so often intimately linked with agriculture, thus the slogan Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth, places a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors to work together for the best shared outcomes.

In Cameroon just like in other parts of the world, wetlands have often been seen as a barrier to agriculture, and they continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available. But the essential role of wetlands in support of agriculture is becoming clearer and clearer, and there are successful agricultural practices which support healthy wetlands.