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World Wetlands Day marked with focus on freshwater sources

Day marks date of adoption of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971

By Maria Weldali - Feb 03,2021 - Last updated at Feb 03,2021

A view of Azraq Wetland reserve (Photo courtesy of RSCN)

AMMAN — On the occasion of World Wetlands Day (WWD), the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) continues to reinforce its efforts in raising global awareness of the vital role of wetlands.

World Wetland Day, observed annually on February 2, aims to highlight wetlands’ importance, as well as, strengthen actions to reverse its loss. This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, according to an RSCN statement sent to The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation of wetlands and their resources, according to the convention’s website.

The Kingdom joined the Ramsar Convention in 1977, being the first Arab country to accede, the statement wrote, adding that in the same year, Azraq Wetland Reserve was declared the first wetland of international significance in the Arab world.

Azraq Wetland Reserve Director Hazem Harisheh said in the statement that the reserve is a natural habitat and a major station for migratory birds on the African-Eurasian flyway.

Wetlands are a vital part of nature. They are important grounds for feeding and breeding migratory birds, they are considered to be “water tanks” that recharge groundwater supplies, in addition to preventing flooding, Fifa Nature Reserve Manager Ibrahim Mahasnah told The Jordan Times over the phone on Tuesday.

According to Mahasnah, Fifa Nature Reserve, some 140km south of Amman in Karak Governorate, was established back in 2011, and was declared a wetland of international importance on April 18, 2017, under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

“What makes Fifa different is that it is the lowest location of wetland in the world, standing at 420 metres below sea level, in addition to being a home for two plant patterns, the salt and tropical plant patterns,” Mahasnah noted.

Fifa Nature Reserve is a place of environmental and social significance as it is important for the livelihoods of people living around it, he said. 

This year’s theme shines a spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss, according to World Wetlands Day website.

“We are facing a growing freshwater crisis that threatens people and our planet. We use more freshwater than nature can replenish,” according to the website.

The 2021 campaign highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater, it said.

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