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World Wetlands Day – In Armenia

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World Wetlands Day is annually held on February 2 to celebrate how wetlands, which are lands saturated by water, help maintain biodiversity on Earth.
Governments, community groups, and individuals around the world celebrate World Wetlands Day with special campaigns to promote the important value that the wetlands play in our lives. The day is promoted via social media, radio and TV broadcasts, and newspapers.

About World Wetlands Day

  • Preventing flooding by absorbing water.
  • Ensuring that the soil provides a unique breeding ground for vegetation that feeds fish.
  • Giving shelter to animals.
  • Purifying water by removing sediment.

World Wetlands Day has been observed since February 2, 1997. The day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Ramsar Convention in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971. The convention is a treaty on the preservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

Wetlands are among the most important and productive ecosystems in the world. They are the main suppliers of fresh water for human use, and provide water, habitat and refuge to thousands of animal and plant species. But their rate of decline is alarming.

In Armenia

As per USAID previous report, approximately 10 percent of the country is covered by wetlands and saline and alkaline lands. The latter cover about 25,000 ha, including areas in the Ararat Valley where the underground waters are close to the earth surface, resulting in water vaporization and salt precipitation. Permanent upland wetlands contrast with lowland wetlands (particularly those around the River Arax), which are usually drained in summer, resulting in high salinity.

Wetlands are among the most threatened habitats in the country. The ecological crisis associated with Lake Sevan has been well documented. Vegetated wetlands around the lake have disappeared. In the Ararat valley alone, 1,500 km2 of swamps have been drained and transformed into agricultural land. The principal wetlands remaining in Armenia are Lake Arpi and the fishponds of the Ararat valley along the Turkish border (Armash area).

Most Armenian protected areas, some of which are of high international conservation importance, are currently in a critical situation. Action is urgently required to prevent irreversible degradation of key sites, and to address some of the main problems identified with previous national and international reports such as the loss of natural habitats and drainage of important wetlands. The network of protected areas requires a comprehensive review in order to balance the current bias in favour of forest habitats.

Public awareness of biodiversity is relatively low in Armenia. Little information on this issue is broadcast on state radio or television, although articles about the environment appear regularly in the press. Non-government organisations and community groups should contribute significantly to the education of the broader community about wetlands through publications, websites and teaching resources and through participation in awareness-raising and capacity building events and activities. Many environmental NGOs as well as the Ministry of Nature Protection did a remarkable  and outstanding job but the interaction of all the community is required to implement areal plan to save the future of the nature in Armenia.

Wetlands are ecosystems located at the interface of land and water. We see them in various forms such as marshes, lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, peatlands, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, floodplains, and deltas. As highly productive ecosystems, wetlands are vital parts of the water cycle and support rich biological diversity. Wetlands are currently one of the main issue that national and international bodies, NGOs and communities focusing to find a real plan to save the nature in Armenia. For now, we need to educate all Armenians the critical importance of this most rapidly disappearing ecosystem. Without wetlands in Armenia, we all hang in the balance, the cooperation and quick action is very recommended.

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