World Wetlands Day 1998 in Malaysia
What is World Wetlands Day? At the 19th meeting of the Standing Committee, in late October 1996, World Wetlands Day was officially designated for 2 February of every year, the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971, as an opportunity for governments, organizations, and citizens to undertake big and small actions intended to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.
This page is part of a series of reports on activities held on and about WWD '98 in various countries of the world, as reported to the Bureau. If you should know of any other activities not mentioned on these pages, send us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll add it to this list.
Ayu Rahayu (email@example.com) of Wetlands International - Asia Pacific writes that, in addition to activities already carried out on 2 February, something new is planned for March . . .
A Double Celebration: World Wetlands Day & World Water Day 1998
World Wetlands Day 98 (2 February 1998) and World Water Day 98 (22 March 1998) are two important events linking wetlands and water. The theme for World Wetlands Day 1998 is "WATER" and the theme for World Water Day 1998 is "GROUNDWATER - THE INVISIBLE RESOURCE".
To highlight the inextricable relationship between water and wetlands, Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, in collaboration with the Malaysian National Committee for International Hydrological Programme (IHP), will be holding a double celebration in Malaysia.
The two events will be celebrated simultaneously in a one-week exhibition to be held on 20-26 March 1998 at The Mines Shopping Fair in Kuala Lumpur. The venue itself is appropriate for the celebration as it is built around a man-made lake with a canal going through the shopping complex.
Apart from Wetlands International - Asia Pacific, IHP and The Mines Shopping Fair, who are the major organisers, 10 other organizations and government agencies are involved in the organising committee. These include Malaysia Water Association (MWA), Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), Department of Environment (DOE), Ministry of Education Malaysia, the Malaysian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (MANCID), Drainage and Irrigation Department and Geological Survey Department Malaysia.
The aim of this event is to create and heighten awareness among the Malaysian public about the importance of water and its vital link to wetlands. It will also highlight the contribution of wetlands to our daily life, to the nation's wealth and the need for its continued conservation.
Among the activities planned for the week are:
About 30 participants from various sectors (i.e. non-governmental organisations, eco-tourism agencies, corporate organisations, governments agencies and the like) will provide information about their contribution to the environment and their activities with regards to conservation. The exhibition will be an educational tool to disseminate knowledge on the environment in general and on the wetland in particular to the target audience.
Stalls selling wetland / environmental products
The general public will be exposed to the abundance of products provided by the environment that is very essential in their daily life. It will also give an opportunity for NGO's and the 'orang asli' or indigenous people to gain income.
Fun and exciting activities for children
The activities are designed to attract children to take part in exciting contests and at the same time educate them on issues related to the environment. Among the contests organised are:
- Colouring contest
- Drawing contest
- Fashion show for kindergarten children
- Nature Hunt
Entertaining stage shows will be held to attract a bigger crowd to the exhibition area. There will be a performance by orang asli (Semelai) of Tasil Bera, Pahang (Tasik Bera was designated as Malaysia's first Ramsar site) to introduce their traditional dance to the public. Children from Malaysian Nature Society will be performing to make the event more exciting.
Book donation booth
To help replenish the school library of orang asli (Semelai) from Tasik Bera, Pahang, a booth will be set up to collect books from the general public. Those who have old books to give away could take this opportunity to contribute towards a beneficial cause.
An all round media coverage of the event will be organised to enhance information dissemination. A wide range of local print and electronic media will be invited to cover the event.
A kit consisting of information on wetlands and the environment will be distributed to the interested public.