African Members of Parliament in the centre of the debate on wetlands in Africa


Press release

African Members of Parliament in the centre of the debate on wetlands in Africa

Wetlands play an increasingly significant role in the life of the people of the world and Africa in particular. Indeed, they are essential to the ecological and natural balance of the planet. They are also an engine for economic, social and cultural development, contributing thus to the promotion of sustainable development of Africa.

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, with 138 member countries, including 37 in Africa, is a demonstration of the importance of wetlands. Thus, it is all the more necessary to involve African Members of Parliament in the issues of conservation and wise use of wetlands. Some steps have already been taken, since the action plan of the environmental component of NEPAD, which was adopted during the last meeting of AMCEN (Africa Ministerial Conference of the Environment), includes wetlands among the environmental priorities for the continent. The political decision makers have therefore a real role to play in the implementation of actions towards the conservation and wise use of wetlands in human development.

In that spirit, the government of the Republic of Benin, the secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA), have jointly organised the first meeting of West and Central African Members of Parliament about wetlands. The objectives of this meeting are to brief the deputies of West and Central Africa and draw attention from decision makers and the public to the following issues:

- Wetlands and the Ramsar Convention in Africa
- The socio-economic importance of wetlands in Africa
- Wetlands as cornerstones of development in West and Central Africa
- Subregional prospects: trends and evolution of wetlands in West and Central Africa
- Options and opportunities for action towards conservation and wise use of wetlands
- Roles and responsibilities of Members of Parliament in support of international conventions and the Ramsar Convention in particular

The meeting will be held on 27-28 November 2003, in the Novotel Hotel, in Cotonou, Benin. It will gather Presidents and members of environment/development commissions from the National Assemblies of 17 countries of West and Central Africa, as well as the executive secretaries of river basin authorities such as the OMVG (Organization for the Development of the Gambia River), OMVS (Organization for the Development of the Senegal River), NBA (Niger Basin Authority) and the LCBC (Lake Chad Basin Commission). The meeting will be chaired by a facilitator and will focus upon various presentations followed by discussion. Representatives of international institutions such as the BAD, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the IEPF have been invited as observers.

Contact Media : Abou Bamba
T. +225.
F. +225.

Contact Technique: Raky Hamza
T. +225. 20.20.58 87
F. +225.

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