Ceremony at Ramsar COP9 marks Zambia's new site designation
At a side event organized by WWF International and the Centre for African Wetlands during Ramsar's 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties near Kampala, 8 November 2005, the Ramsar Secretariat was pleased to award Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, the Honourable Kabinga Pande, a site certificate for the designation of the Lukanga Swamps, Zambia's third Wetland of International Importance. These swamps, very important from both an ecological and a socio-economic point of view, mark the first of five new site designations that Zambia and the Secretariat are in the process of working through.
Lukanga Swamps (260,000 hectares, 14°24'S 027°38'E) in Central Province is the largest permanent water body in the Kafue basin, comprising generally shallow swamps that allow light penetration to the bottom, permitting high photosynthetic activity. They are a suitable habitat for birds and wildlife, hosting a number of threatened species such as the Wattled Crane, the Red Lechwe, African python, and the sitatunga, an antelope adapted to walking and swimming in marshy environments. The area is also an important breeding ground for fish, the most abundant of which is Tilapia, with T. rendalli and T. sparmani the predominant species. Fishing is the major economic activity, with the site supplying fish to three provinces (Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt) with a population of 6.1 million. The swamps are an important source of reed material for basketry, and act as a sediment trap and a trap for metals from the copperbelt of Zambia. Overfishing, deforestation, and use of agro-chemicals pose potential threats. It is proposed to develop a local strategic management plan with full participation of the local communities. Ramsar site no. 1580.
At a side event organized by WWF International and the Centre for African Wetlands during Ramsar's COP9, the Ramsar Secretariat awarded Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, the Honourable Kabinga Pande, a certificate for the designation of the Lukanga Swamps, a new Ramsar site.
Minister Kabinga Pande and Ramsar Deputy Secretary General Nick Davidson