“Wetlands that help us cope with extreme weather events” was the theme of the Wetlands Youth Photo contest, organized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from 2 February to 2 March 2017. Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as storms, floods and droughts are on the increase. When well-managed, healthy wetlands absorb excess rainfall and store it for the dry season, which helps communities cope with extreme weather events and protects them from disasters.
The Winning Photo, an aerial view of the Gabaldon floodplain of Nueva Ecija, Philippines is by 21 year old Gabriel B. Mejia. Floodplains can be compared to giant reservoirs that when left intact store flood waters. Gabriel B. Mejia wins the main prize, a free flight, courtesy of Star Alliance to visit a Wetland of International Importance.
The judging panel that selected the winning photo and the seven Highly Commended Finalists included Olivier Robert, Fine Art photographer, Vitalis Hirschmann, active freelance photographer, Janet Northcote, Director Communications, Star Alliance, Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Staff of the Secretariat.
The Global Photo Contest received over 700 entries from young people between 18 to 25 years and was organized on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2017 under the umbrella theme Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Gabriel Mejia, Philippines
Winner Wetlands Youth Photo Contest 2017 - Gabaldon Floodplain of Nueva Ecija, Philippines by Gabriel Mejia. Located between two rural towns, this floodplain absorbs flood waters and has been known to protect the communities in this region
Here are the six highly commended images:
Elena Landmann, France
First Highly Commended Finalist – Ill and Rhine River floodplain “Grand Ried” Alsace, France by Elena Landmann
Aline Fidelix, Brazil
Second Highly Commended Finalist - Floating house, Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazon, Brazil by Aline Fidelix. For six months in the year when the Reserve floods, residents have to adapt to living above water.
Benjamin Bureau, Benin
Third Highly Commended Finalist – Mangroves, Djebadji coastal village, Benin by Benjamin Bureau. Mangroves shield coastal communities during storm surges, sea level rise and tsunamis.
Mustafa Abdulmttaleb Ali, Iraq
Fourth Highly Commended Finalist - Shatt aL-Arab River, Abu al khaseeb, Basra Iraq by Mustafa Abdulmttaleb Ali
Andrés Ródenas, Kenya
Fifth Highly Commended Finalist - Mangroves along the Watamu coastal town, Kenya by Paloma de Andrés Ródenas
Diana Elisa, Estonia
Sixth Highly Commended Finalist - Kakerdaja peat bog, Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve, Estonia by Diana Elisa. Peatlands store more carbon than all the world's forests which helps to mitigate climate change.
Adriane B. Tobias, Philippines
Seventh Highly Commended Finalist - Mangrove Swamp, Pagbilao, Quezon, Philippines by Adriane B. Tobias.