World Wetlands Day in Irelan
World Wetlands Day 2006
WWD2006 and the following 2 days will be a time of Celebration, Information, Education and Scheming for better Wetland Protection organised by Coastwatch and a number of other organizations (see program)
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran (1971), provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
To be wise, you need information, education and more, including good example and adequate law and law enforcement.
Ireland is a signatory of the Ramsar Convention and we have ratified it. We are rich in wetland types, many with ancient cultural uses and teeming with life. Wetlands are base of many industries, not just our strong fishing and angling tradition.
However, we have lost a huge amount of wetland area, particularly of certain type of wetlands like small ponds, estuarine reedbeds and river floodplain. Our stock of natural wetlands is still diminishing and often we act before we have the information to ensure wise use. The woeful Land Reclamation Act of 1949 is still alive and where we have good laws, public information and enforcement need further strengthening. The good thing is - general public attitude to wetlands is changing as people become more informed. Projects like the three year Wexford County Council Wetland School project have helped and will now be made available to a wider public as CD funded by the NPWS. Also after years of lobbying and lament we do now see some progress on the ground. A new government waste policy, also addressing wetland infill with waste was published in 2005 and is perhaps the biggest step forward in the Republic if implemented fully. At local level, Waterford County Council is considering unprecedented wetland restoration.
In other areas there is a mixed bag of progress and need for progress: We talk about alien species, but focused action to reduce risk of introduction and the spread of such species into and through our wetlands is still weak. The Water Framework Directive continues to be implemented with significant resources, but the non government side is not allowed to share some of the exciting wetland information now being gathered, nor are environmental groups represented on government working groups. The coastal end of the WFD is sketchy and the lack of coastal zone management is continuing to nourish developer aspirations of beach and harbour developments, which then requires massive public effort to be seen in a wider cost benefit context.
A national wetland committee, to be set up by Ramsar signatories, to coordinate and spearhead national wetland protection and use has now been established in NI, though not yet in the Republic.
These are just wetland news snippets. For more information on these and others .
Come join us - Politicians, Teachers and Pupils, Heritage and Environment Officers, Recreational and Work Users of wetlands
On three days of celebrations, information exchange and ecology training.
Coastwatch attention Karin Dubsky, Civil Eng. TCD Dublin 2
01 6773428, 055 25843 and 086 8111 684
-- Reported by Karen Dubsky, Coastwatch, Ireland (and Ramsar CEPA NGO Focal Point)