Healthy Wetlands needed for Healthy Ecosystems
Commissioner Northern, Mr. Jovesa Vocea, made this statement while giving the opening address at the World Wetlands Day event in Labasa.
“A well-managed wetland can become natural solutions to environmental, economic problems and safeguard against the impacts of climate change. Therefore, it is critical that everyone from all walks of life is aware of the value and significance that these natural ecosystems play,” Mr. Vocea said.
With the theme “Wetlands and Climate Change” Mr. Vocea stressed on the important role wetlands have in the ecosystem and how they impact daily livelihoods.
“Most of us regard wetlands as wastelands and foul smelling sites or worthless habitats that need to be converted to a more worthy use. We seldom realize the different functions and roles wetlands perform in the whole ecosystems and mankind’s survival,” he added.
In his speech the Commissioner also outlined the important services wetlands provide like, guarding communities against natural disasters, trapping excessive carbon in the atmosphere, natural regulators against sedimentation and flooding, and they are also act as nurseries for freshwater and oceanic fisheries. Wetlands are also a source of livelihood for many rural communities in Fiji.
He concluded that the destruction of wetlands compromises these services and “will result in their not able to execute their natural functions in the ecosystem and most importantly as natural buffers against the impacts of climate change”.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet. The event in Labasa coincided with the National Workshop for the Management of the Qoliqoli Cokovata Ramsar site.