The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with the Wilaya district of El Oued, jointly celebrated the World Wetlands Day in El Oued under the theme Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction. The celebration brought together more than 150 wetland stakeholders who attended the public conference. Another 500 people visited the exhibition at Chott Merouane Ramsar Site.
The World Wetlands Day was celebrated during two days:
1st February 2017: Exhibition at Chott Merouane Ramsar Site, visit to Sidi Khalile and Lake Ayata wetlands and prize giving ceremony awarding primary school student for their wetlands’ artwork;
2nd February 2017: Public conference and visit to Ghotte wetland system in Oglo Commune.
The celebration was co-chaired by Head of Ramsar Administrative Authority, Director of the Forests Department, Abdelfettah Abdelmalek and Secretary General of the Wilaya of El Oued Kadri Belkasem.
The officials visited Chott Merouane Ramsar Site, Sidi Khlile wetland and Lake Ayata. Chott Merouane Ramsar Site area refers to a number of villages in the South of Algeria. Media interviews took place during this visit highlighted populations’ settlement patterns which were influenced by water needs for both human consumption and livestock.
Secretary General of the Wilaya of El Oued Kadri Belkasem welcomed the audience and stressed the importance of wetlands, their wise use and value for poverty reduction. Head of Ramsar Administrative Authority and Director of the Forests Department, Abdelfettah Abdelmalek, underlined that the Department was established in order to bring environmental issues under one umbrella for better coordination of policies, strategies and programmes. He also stated that Algeria’s key environment issues include the depletion of water resources, land degradation and desertification, overuse of forest resources and decrease in species populations. Several presentations on wetlands were presented by universities, WWF International, Denis Landenbergue and the Ramsar Senior Advisor for Africa Paul Ouedraogo followed by discussions. Local communities expressed their appreciation for this dialogue about wetlands management and the challenges that these communities encounter.
Schools Wetland Competition
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development together with the Ministry of Education have organized a School Wetland Competition. Primary schools students were presented with awards for their artwork representing wetlands.
During his World Wetland Day visit to Algeria Paul Ouedraogo together with Jean-Michel Derex, an author of the book "La mémoire des étangs et des marais" gave an interview to Radio France International talking about wetlands as invaluable spaces around which life thrives and threads that the wetlands face.
Listen to the interview here (French only)
Reported by Ramsar Senior Advisor for Africa Paul Ouedraogo