World Wetlands Day 2010 -- India


Environment Minister releases WWF publications on World Wetlands Day 2010

Jammu, Feb 02, 2010 – Crediting due importance and recognition to high altitude ecosystems and biodiversity, Jairam Ramesh, Hon’ble Union Minister of Environment and Forests and Omar Abdullah, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir released a calendar on high altitude wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir, and Field Guides on the flora, mammals and birds of Ladakh on World Wetlands Day, 2010. Also present at the event were Mian Altaf Ahmad, Hon’ble Minister for Forest and Environment, Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Shabir Ahmed Khan, Hon’ble Minister of State for Forest and Environment, Nasir Aslam Wani, Hon’ble Minister of State for Tourism, Madan Lal Sharma, Hon’ble Member Parliament and Dr. Sidharth Kaul, Director, MOEF, Government of India.

The calendar, which has been jointly produced by WWF-India and Department of Wildlife Protection, Government of Jammu & Kashmir, represents the importance of high altitude wetlands for the indigenous nomadic communities which live around them, like the Changpas, Gujjars and Bakerwals. It frames scenes from the lives of these communities as well as landscapes from the wetland ecosystems.

The three Field Guides on the birds, flora and mammals of Ladakh are a unique compilation of  information aimed at raising awareness about the often understated biodiversity of the region, among local youth, researchers, tourists and environmentalists. The guides contain information in both English and Ladakhi and have been jointly produced by WWF-India, Department of Wildlife Protection, Government of Jammu & Kashmir and Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DRDO).

“These publications are powerful education and awareness tools and should be sent to all educational institutions in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Jairam Ramesh addressing the audience.

As a run up to World Wetlands Day 2010, WWF organised many educational and awareness programmes on the theme “Healthy Wetlands: An answer to climate change”, in keeping with the Ramsar theme for World Wetlands Day.  The key activities organised were symposia, drawing and painting competitions, slogan writing, panel discussions and essay and short story writing competitions for students in schools around J&K.      

Mr. Pankaj Chandan, Manager, High Altitude Wetland Programme, WWF-India, said, “These bilingual field guides will act as a powerful tool to spread the message of conservation among the local youth of Ladakh. The calendar, highlighting the high altitude wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir, will help in creating awareness about them and consequently encourage policy makers and other stakeholders to work towards their conservation. WWF field offices will make all efforts to disseminate the publications to the relevant target groups in the state.”

2 February each year is celebrated as World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.

High altitude wetlands are wetlands found at altitudes of above 3000 metres above sea level. Located in mountainous regions, these wetlands are mostly snow or glacier-fed and support very unique and fragile biodiversity.

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