World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, announcement of new Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and wetland rehabilitation.
Each year, World Wetlands Day focuses on a different theme. The theme for 2018 was ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’ – encouraging us all to view urban wetlands as a precious and prized resource rather than a wasteland. The World Wetlands Day 2019 convened under the theme, 'Wetlands and Climate Change'. The Day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. “Wetlands and climate change”, the theme for WWD 2019, aims to highlight the important role played by wetlands, as natural solutions, in adapting to, and mitigating the impact of climate change
Wetlands can be vulnerable to climate change, being impacted by changes in temperature, rainfall, sea level rise and extreme events. Wetlands can also play an important role in our approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation, through capturing and storing carbon to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases, and providing resilience to hazards such as flooding, storm surge and sea level rise.
In Kenya the Ministry of Environment and Forestry joined the rest of the world in celebration to mark this important worldwide event. National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) organized this event through the national steering committee. The event was held from 30th to 2nd February 2019 at Rimuruti in Laikipia County. On 30th January 2019, before the event there was a panel discussion at Safaricom headquarters where participants discussed the role stakeholders in Wetlands conservation and Climate Change mitigation measures in the country. This was a buildup activity for the World Wetland Day. The Dean School of Environmental Studies led five KUNEC Students in the discussion since they are members of the NEMA steering Committee.
The bus left the University at 1.p.m to Rumuruti. Rumuruti is a town in Laikipia County in. It is approximately 40 kilometers due north from Nyahururu on the Nyahururu Maralal road. They had a stopover in Limuru Town for refreshment before heading to Nyahururu town at 7.30 p.m. since the day was far spent, the students slept at Safari lodge hotel.
1st January, 2019
Students woke up early in the morning and joined other participants from the county directorate of Environment in a clean-up activity in Rumuruti market. This exercise was organized to educate people living in the town and market on the importance of a clean environment and the effects of plastic bags and bottles on the environment. Later students went to Thomson Falls one of the biggest tourist destination in Kenya and the county for relaxation moment. While there, they enjoyed the scenic beauty, watched and listened to birds singing and took some photos. After this they haeded back to the lodge and slept.
2st January, 2019
This was the D-day; they woke up early and attended a community forum in Rumuruti Catholic Church. This forum was organized to create awareness on the conservation of Marura Wetland which is one the sources of Ewaso Nyiro River which supplies water to the Northern part of Kenyan communities. People have encroached on the wetland through farming and cutting down of trees and overusing and the depletion of the water resource in their farms. This has brought human –wildlife, farmers and pastoralist conflict between calling for a serious concerted effort to preserve the wetland.
After the forum there was a procession starting at the Governor’s office led by KUNEC students who were carrying the events banner to the Water Resource Authority offices where the celebrations took place. there was a tree planting session where a total of 100 trees seedlings were planted in the wetland. The chief guest the cabinet secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko gave his speech to mark the day followed by speeches from other invited guests.
The event was working towards the gazzettment of the wetland to protect the Wetland from extinction and ended at 2.p.m after a vote of thanks the students travelled back to the University arriving at 9.00p.m. For more information, CLICK HERE