World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Ireland

06/03/2005

Press Note *_World wetland Day is next Wed. 2.2.05 _*

*_ _**_Dun Laoghaire County Hall Marine Road_**_ _**_9.30 am to 4 pm_**_ _*

*_Contact: _*_Karin Dubsky Coastwatch 086 8111 684 and evenings 055 25176 _

The environmental NGO Coastwatch is organizing a day of information, discovery, fun, hard debate and hopefully some recommendations to be taken up by politicians.Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is hosting the event and an exhibition. We would be delighted if you could come.

The aims are to raise awareness of wetland values, functions and urgent legal and policy reforms to protect them.

Several schools are attending, key official wetland interests and Coastwatchers. *Please could you flag the event to get wider public participation? *

Wetlands are areas of *wet land* such as saltmarshes, reedbeds and *shallow water* such as rivers, ponds and coastal waters. They have many vital functions and can be complex interlinked systems. They are essential parts of our planet. Both their quality and quantity matter. For details of the World Wetland (or Ramsar) Convention which initiated World Wetland Day see www.ramsar.com <http://www.ramsar.com/

*ELEMENTS OF WORLD WETLAND DAY ON THE **ISLAND** OF **IRELAND***

*In Northern Ireland* a Wetland committee was formed last year and with government funding a series of awareness raising events are taking place starting this weekend.

*In the Republic* Coastwatch has organized an exhibition running next week and a series of events on World wetland day in cooperation with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. Here some details on the events in Dun Laoghaire.

* *The exhibition* in the County hall includes photos and drawings of Dublin Bay shores taken by people who participated in our Coastwatch survey last autumn and answered extra questions on Special features on THEIR shores, as well as a Wexford wetland schools area

* *The seminar first session is political*, dealing with legal issues (like the reclamation of estuarine marsh without needing planning permission when these sites are long known to be crucial for flood control and important fish nursery areas) as well as economic and decision making (what makes a region decide to build quality tourism around a wetland? The Austrian/Hungarian Neusiedler See, like Dublin Bay and Lough Foyle hosts thousands of birds every winter and has landscape and biodiversity richness, but our tourism product makes little use of it.

* *The education session* is geared to satisfy both student 12 years upward and adult interests. Young and old give presentations and discuss information and education needs together - extending into the* afternoon workshop.*

* *Lunchtime walks look at Dun Laoghaire Harbour*, where waste management has improved enormously and biodiversity shows it.

* *Afternoon workshops are divided, each group focusing on other issues:*

A - biodiversity of Dublin Bay as case study. It is mainly for politicians, planners, scientists and heritage officers.

B- Education and Information continuing the morning session to cater for both students and interested adults..

C - Is for professional engineers and planners and again politicians looking at the greening of plans, their training and their actions.

Coastwatch is the non government focal point for the Ramsar World Wetland Convention. The position comes without funds.

Detailed programme

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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