A wetland located within the Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (SIPLAS) will take center stage as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Biodiversity Management Bureau leads this year’s Philippine celebration of the World Wetlands Day (WWD).
WWD is celebrated every 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the vital role of wetlands for the planet and its people. The date marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.
Presidential Proclamation No. 74, series of 1999, also declares February 2 of every year as National Wetlands Day in recognition of the immense importance of wetlands to the welfare of the Filipino people and the protection of global biodiversity.
This year’s WWD theme, “It’s Time for Wetland Restoration,” highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration and the steps needed to revive and restore degraded wetlands.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests as more than 35 percent of wetlands globally have been degraded or lost since the 1970s.
If this trend continues, the world will lose valuable ecosystems which deliver unrivaled benefits to humanity such as source of fresh water, natural carbon sink, livelihood and food, and increased protection against storms and floods.
In line with this year’s global theme, the WWD 2023 national celebration will be held at SIPLAS to highlight the role of wetlands in disaster risk reduction and post-Typhoon Odette wetland restoration and rehabilitation efforts.
Highlight of the event is the national declaration of the Del Carmen Mangrove Reserve, a portion of SIPLAS situated in Del Carmen, Surigao del Sur as a Wetland of International Importance. This is a precursor to its nomination for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance, or as a Ramsar Site.
Wetlands of International Importance are wetlands that hold significant value not only for the country in which they are located but for humanity as a whole. By being recognized as such, the government must commit to take the necessary steps to ensure the maintenance of the wetland’s ecological character.
The WWD 2023 national celebration is in collaboration with DENR–CARAGA, PENRO Surigao del Norte, Protected Area Management Office of SIPLAS, and the municipal government of Del Carmen, as well as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes project, DENR-United Nations Development Programme/Global Environment Facility (UNDP/GEF) Integrated Approach in the Management of Major Biodiversity Corridors in the Philippines project, the Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridor project and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment-UNDP/GEF Seventh Operational Phase of the Small Grants Programme in the Philippines or SGP7 project.
All DENR regional and field offices are expected to lead the celebration of WWD in their respective localities.
Other national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, non-government organizations, people’s organizations, the academe and the Filipino community are invited to celebrate WWD and to show support for wetland restoration and to inspire action for Philippine wetlands. #
- Published: 31 January 2023