World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Bahrain

World Wetlands Day 2005 -- Bahrain

14 March 2005

Wetland Day Seminar By Environment Friends Society (EFS)

Location: Environment Friends Society Premises at Hamad Town
Date: 2/2/2005 Wednesday
Time: 7:00 p.m.

In celebrating the WETLAND DAY, in Bahrain, the Environment Friends Society held a specialist seminar on Feb 2nd 2005. the seminar was held in the premises of EFS at Hamad Town, a new town (1980s) that was built next to Dilmonic archeological sites. The seminar was covered in the local newspapers as well as some Arabic environmental magazines and websites. Bahrain Sattalite TV also broadcasted the seminar and was watched by many audience in the Arab World.

The President (Khawla AL Muhannadi – MSc in Conservation and Tourism) of EFS mediated the seminar and started it with an introduction about RAMSAR Convention and WETLAND DAY. Also she drawn the attention to what can be found in RAMSAR website.

The seminar had 5 speakers. The first representing the focal point for the Ramsar convention, the second representing the academic center that conducted a research on Tobli Bay (RAMASAR Site 921) and the third representing the United Nation Development Programme. The forth speaker represented the people living around Tobli Bay and the fifth representing the NGOs interest in Tobli Bay.

Speaker (1) Eng. Zahwa Al Kuwari (Director of the Directorate of Environmental Planning and Monitoring – The Public Commission for the Protection of Fsheries, Environment and Wildlife). Spoke about the environmental conventions Bahrain signed to and the process of signing and ratifying any convention, highlighting that conventions should be to the benefit of Bahrain for the directorate to approve them.

Speaker (2): Dr Hashim Al Sayed (Associate Professor at the Marine Biology . Section – University of Bahrain + Consultancy Member at EFS) and Dr. Mohanad Sharida (Head of Environmental Studies Section – Deanship of Scientific Research of the University of Bahrain + Consultancy member of EFS): Spoke about a study conducted on Tobli Bay in association with UNDP. The study aimed to study the biodiversity in different areas of the Bay and attempt to relate this to the variables impacting the bay such as the sand wash factories, the sewage discharge and the water current movement.

Speaker (3): Mr. Moh'd Al Shareef (Project Officer in the UNDP Office) spoke about the global

Speaker (4): Mr Hussain Al Oraibi (a citizen in Toobli Village + a member in EFS + a member in Toobli Charity Fund) spoke about the history and heritage of the bay and how the villagers lifestyle including provision of jobs and food and also celebrations and traditions. One of the stories he mentioned about Toobli is the fact that Dolphins used to live in the bay. Another story is that housewives used to get their daily lun ch from the bay by collecting the shrimps using the head cover indicating that the bay used to be viewed as covered with shrimps at some seasons waiting to be collected.

Speaker (5): Eng. Moh'd Kadhim Mohsin(Vice-President of EFS) spoke about the history of EFS with Toobli Bay that stated with attempts to learn about it by reading, then field trips from the land with scientific supervision as the NGO was so causcios not to impact the protected area. Next steps was trips from the sea. Later on the NGO started recording and reporting the human activities impacting the bay including land reclamation and using the bay as a dumping area by some companies and individuals. The NGO then started taking school children in field trips to "RAS SANAD" the protected area in Tobli Bay, and making them aware of the meaning of a protected area compared to the actual situation that has to be improved. Letters, meetings and seminars took place to illustrate these points and the international obligations towards RAMSAR convention with the government officials.

As a conclusion EFS who organized the "WETLAND seminar" asked all the organizations, governmental and non in addition to the individuals to assume their responsibilities towards improving the situation of Toobli Bay and utilizing it for ecotourism projects that can benefit local people as well as adding to the GDP of the economy of Bahrain.

Dr. Muhanad and Dr Hashim in the seminar

Khawla-Howard- Moh'd Kadhm - Zahwa

"There's wealth in wetland diversity
- don't lose it!"