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TIEN GIANG: Many activities for the World Wetlands Day 2020

World Wetlands Day (WWD) is on February 2nd, marking the signing date of the Convention on Wetlands, also called as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on February 2nd, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar by the Caspian Sea. Currently, there are 171 countries and territories participating in the Ramsar Convention, which accounts for 90% of the United Nations members.

This Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for the conservation and appropriate use of wetlands and resources and is a commitment of nations around the world to conserve and wisely use wetlands of international importance. Viet Nam signed the Convention in 1989, being the 50th member, and the first country of Southeast Asia to accede to it.

Up to now, 171 countries have joined the Convention and pledged to implement the following commitments: (i) Making efforts towards the wise use of all wetlands; (ii) Designating wetlands considered to be of high value to the countries and the world to make a list of those of international importance and ensure effective management; (iii) Implementing international cooperation on transboundary wetlands, and sharing and protecting wetland systems and species living there.

Currently, there are 2,375 Ramsar sites (on the list of wetlands of international importance). Viet Nam is a member of the Ramsar Convention and  has 09 Ramsar sites namely Xuan Thuy National Park, Nam Dinh province; Bau Sau wetland - Cat Tien National Park, Dong Nai province; Ba Be lake, Bac Kan province; Tram Chim National Park, Dong Thap province; Ca Mau Cape National Park, Ca Mau province; Con Dao National Park, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province; U Minh Thuong National Park, Kien Giang province; Lang Sen wetland natural reserve, Long An province and Van Long wetland natural reserve, Ninh Binh province, which are recognized by the Convention Secretariat. Carrying out the responsibilities and obligations of a member country, Viet Nam organizes activities to commemorate the World Wetlands Day on February 2nd every year and has many activities of wetland conservation nationwide.

Wetlands play an important role in life, being the cradle of biodiversity, providing water and habitat for creatures; providing critical ecosystem services to humans including fisheries and agricultural resources, providing and regulating water, regulating climate, limiting floods, being the area of alluvial deposition and making active participation in the nutrient cycle in ecosystems. Moreover, they are also the site for cultural and belief activities and relaxation and make a significant contribution to tourism development.

In order to popularize and raise people's awareness of the core role of wetlands in adapting to and minimizing the impacts of climate change on the development of countries around the world, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat asked member countries to organize activities to commemorate WWD 2020 with the theme "Wetlands are the driving force of life - Let's conserve the wetlands". Following the suggestion of the Secretariat and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Viet Nam on organizing activities to commemorate WWD 2020 and to mobilize the participation of the whole society for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, recently on January 15th, 2020, the People's Committee of Tien Giang province issued the Document No. 212/ UBND-KTTC to assign the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to collaborate with the leaders of the provincial government agencies and chairmen of the People's Committees of district level  to implement the commemoration plan with a number of key activities as follows:

- These agencies proactively organize or collaborate with news agencies to popularize the importance of wetlands and call on communities to commit to conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, halt activities that cause degradation of wetlands and promote the restoration of degraded wetlands; and show news reports or short films on the prevention of wetland degradation in response to climate change on their media channels.

- Launching movements of protecting the environment and biodiversity of wetlands; restoring degraded wetlands; conserving and sustainably using wetland resources.

- Incorporating the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands into programs, planning and development plans of the sectors and localities; Organizing contests and exhibitions and making reportages on the theme "Wetlands are the driving force of life - Let's conserve the wetlands" in order to call on the community to protect all the world's wetlands as well as biodiversity; at the same time, sharing and responding to the call to protect the Earth and protect the harmonious and sustainable relationship between human and nature.

Tien Giang province does not have any Ramsar sites, but Dong Thap Muoi Ecological Reserve in Tan Phuoc district, about 30 km away from My Tho city  to northwest, was established under Decision No. 815/QD-UBND on March 22nd, 2000 of Tien Giang People's Committee with an area of about 107 ha of Melaleuca forest and 40 ha of water surface. The buffer zone surrounding the reserve has an area of 1,800 ha for biodiversity conservation. The ecosystem there is characterized by a melaleuca forest with acid sulphate soil, having diverse flora and fauna that contributes to a diverse ecosystem and a green space for the whole area. Some statistics show the reserve has about 10 thousand wild animals.

Besides, the Ecological Reserve has about 152 species of plants, 42 species of birds, 14 species of fish, 03 species of amphibians, 16 species of insects, 09 species of animals, 22 species of reptiles, tens of thousands of individual birds, etc. Strict protection and a favorable, peaceful, safe habitat are factors that attract more and more waterbirds.

On average, each year, there are about 1,000 more birds and animals that are born there and lured from other places. In particular, the largest number is of storks. Recently, it has had many rare species of birds listed in Viet Nam's Red Data Book. Especially, Giang Sen (Mycteria leucocephala) - a very big water bird has come back to live, nest, and give birth in the Reserve. Conservation and breeding of birds and animals at the integrated raising area, as well as luring activities, have made the fauna at Dong Thap Muoi reserve more and more diverse and sustainable.

In addition to carrying out the task of researching, preserving, nurturing and taking care of flora and fauna, Dong Thap Muoi Ecological Reserve has potential to develop tourism. In recent years, to make it easier for tourists, the local government has conducted ground filling, constructed roads to and within the reserve, a small quay, a greeting house, a parking lot, etc. In the coming time, this place will be one of the attractive destinations on the tourist map of Tien Giang./.

Translated by the Department of  Foreign Affairs


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