World Wetlands Day 2008 -- Switzerland -- Geneva
6è journée mondiale des zones humides (JMZH) à Genève
Every year, around the world, institutions, NGOs, schools and individuals celebrate World Wetlands Day on 2 February, with activities of every kind, from press releases to field excursions, from cleaning up to wetland restoration initiatives.
The theme for WWD 2008 was "Healthy Wetlands - Healthy People"; a key topic to exemplify both the direct positive effects on human health of maintaining healthy wetlands, such as the provision of food, clean water, pharmaceutical products, flood control etc. and the direct negative effects of mismanaging wetlands.
Organized by the Geneva State "Département du territoire", the 6th local edition of World Wetlands Day took place yesterday, Sunday 3 February 2008, on Geneva's lakeside promenade in front of the "Jetée des Pâquis". The Ramsar Secretariat was there, together with the Museum of Natural History of Geneva, and eight other Swiss and local NGOs who work for the conservation of Lake Geneva and its flora and fauna, to celebrate the event. Luck gave us a fabulous sunny day which encouraged hundreds and hundreds people to stroll along the lakeside, stop by and get involved in the many different activities proposed; a very friendly, relaxed and multicultural atmosphere with quizzes, games and hands-on activities for kids.
Bird watching points with telescopes positioned on the lake shore were made available to the public by the "Nos Oiseaux" organization. The Canton de Genève also prepared a very interesting and useful brochure on the waterfowl and migratory birds observable in the area of "Le Rhône genevois - Vallons de l'Allondon et de La Laire", one of the 11 Wetlands of International importance in Switzerland. The information display panel, with the Ramsar logo, has been installed permanently with the support from Geneva local authorities at the periphery of Geneva lake at four points to disseminate information about birds found in the Geneva Lake.
And all day long the GMC Association kindly distributed hot drinks and warm wine from their World War II-era truck, making the atmosphere even warmer!
Christina Meissner, organizer of the WWD event estimated that overall, more than a thousand people were involved yesterday.
The Ramsar Secretariat is very happy to congratulate and thank the Canton of Geneva and the local organizations for the successful day which helped to make citizens and tourists aware of the importance of conserving wetlands!
The Ramsar stand in Geneva on World Wetlands Day: Monica Zavagli, Evelyn Parh Moloko, Mila Llorens, and Pragati Tuladhar, the four Assistant Regional Advisors.
Stand of the Museum of Natural History, Geneva
Stand of Ornitho.ch
Stand of Pro Natura
Stand of La Libellule
Stand of EIL HES Lullier
Jean-Pierre Moll, fisherman, providing information about local fishing practices
María Rivera, Ramsar Senior Advisor for the Americas, and Valerie Higgins, Senior Administrative Assistant, with one of the display panels
Pragati, Catherine Loetscher, Ramsar Administrative Assistant, and Mila
Christina Meissner, event organizer