The enhanced protection of African wetlands is key to boosting the resilience of local communities in the face of climatic shocks, poverty and food insecurity, a green lobby said Tuesday.
Mithika Mwenda, the executive director of Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, said the continent’s ability to sustain green and inclusive growth, peace and stability hinges on conservation of its vast wetlands.
“Wetlands have economic potential besides mitigating the negative impacts of flooding, scarcity of water and soil erosion. They are also hubs for eco-tourism,” Mwenda said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said the theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day, “Wetlands Action for People and Nature,” underscores their critical role in the survival of African rural communities, which are already grappling with an escalating climate crisis.
According to Mwenda, wetlands have always acted as carbon sinks besides facilitating water purification while acting as home to iconic species that are part of Africa’s heritage.
He called for enactment of policies and legislation that promotes conservation of these vital ecosystems amid myriad threats like human encroachment and over-exploitation.
Mwenda said that improved land use practices are key to halting pollution of wetlands, and enhancing their ability to provide crucial ecosystem services like air and water purification.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2.