The Negros Occidental provincial government is pushing for the establishment of local conservation areas (LCAs) in various cities and municipalities of the province on the occasion of World Wetlands Day on Wednesday.
In a statement, the Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO), headed by lawyer Julie Ann Bedrio, said local environment and natural resources officers need to intensify the campaign for wetlands conservation and protection through the conduct of various activities that will lead to the setting up of LCAs.
“(The observance) is a reminder that we also have the network of coastal wetlands LCAs named the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA), covering 10 local government units. Let us continue to value, manage, restore and love our wetlands,” the PEMO added.
The NOCWCA, located in southern Negros, covers a coastline of 109.52 kilometers, spanning 52 coastal barangays, from Bago City, Pulupandan, San Enrique, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Himamaylan City, Kabankalan City down to Ilog.
On October 20, 2016, the NOCWCA was declared as the seventh Ramsar site (wetland of international importance) in the Philippines.
In October last year, the Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Area Management Alliance (NOCWAMA), with its entry titled “Network of Alliances for Coastal Wetlands Conservation”, was named one of the Top 10 winners of the Galing Pook Awards, which recognizes innovative practices by LGUs.
The NOCWCA serves as a habitat of globally-threatened species, extensive mangroves, and mudflats that serve as feeding grounds for thousands of migratory birds.
Its high biodiversity also supports the livelihood of coastal communities and serves as a major food source for Negros Occidental.
Observed every February 2, World Wetlands Day aims to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and the planet.
The day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
This year, Negros Occidental adopts the logo and the theme of the United Nation Environment Programme, with “a call to take action for wetlands” as the focus of the campaign that seeks to invest in financial, human, and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those that have been degraded.
The Feb. 2, 2022 World Wetlands Day is being observed as a United Nations International Day, following its adoption by the General Assembly on August 30, 2021 in a resolution co-sponsored by 75 member-states.*PNA