On 3 February, in the context of World Wetlands Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Plurinational State of Bolivia received WWF’s “Gift to the Earth” award for its achievements in the field of conservation, and especially for designating three Wetlands of International Importance in the Beni Department. Ms Yolanda Kakabadse, WWF president, presented the “Gift to the Earth” Certificate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador David Choquehuanca Céspedes.
|Secretary General Christopher Briggs addressing the audience.|
During the event the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Mr Christopher Briggs, recognized the leadership and progress of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in the implementation of the Convention. Bolivia designated the Blanco River, Mato River and Yata - a total surface of 6.9 million hectares - as Wetlands of International Importance in 2013. By naming these three Sites, Bolivia has become the country with the largest area designated under the Convention, 14.8 million hectares. Mr Briggs presented certificates recognizing this achievement to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador David Choquehuanca Céspedes and the Minister of Environment Mr José Antonio Gutiérrez Zamora.
Mr Briggs stated that with these designations Bolivia has shown its commitment and political support to wetlands conservation and has contributed to the designation of Amazon wetlands, underrepresented in the List of Wetlands of International Importance. He said that the Secretariat will continue to support the Government of Bolivia to manage the designated Sites effectively and to work towards the Convention’s mission according to the priorities the Government has set. He also encouraged Bolivia to continue to assert its leadership in the implementation of the Convention.
More than 150 people from diplomatic offices, cooperation agencies, government and local NGOs attended the event.
Report and photo by Maria Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas