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Media Release: Golden Gate Highlands NP to celebrate World Wetlands Day

26 January 2010

South African National Parks (SANParks) and Golden Gate Highlands National Park will be participating in an intergovernmental celebration of World Wetlands Day on Tuesday, 2 February 2010.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park will be co-hosting the event with government departments and stakeholders, namely the Invasive Species Control Unit (ISCU), the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Free State Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs (DETEA), the Wetlands Forum, Bluegumbosch Community Conservancy among others. Eight hundred community members and school children from the Makwane area are expected to participate in this celebration of World Wetlands Day.

World Wetlands Day to be celebrated on 2 February 2010 under the theme: “Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate World Wetlands Day will be celebrated with a range of activities in line with the theme for 2010, which is “Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change”. The focus will be on wetlands and biodiversity, the impact of climate change on wetlands and mitigating and adapting to climate change.

On February 2, 1971, countries around the world came together and signed the Convention on Wetlands (an Intergovernmental Treaty) - the first ecologically focused convention – in Ramsar, Iran. Since then, 158 countries have signed the Treaty, including South Africa., and 169 million hectares of wetlands (1 828 sites) have been designated as wetlands of international importance.

The purpose of celebrating this day is to recognise the values and benefits the community and the economy derive from wetlands. It also intends to heighten public awareness towards ensuring collective efforts to protect wetlands, especially changing people’s mindset about the need to harvest resources from wetlands in a sustainable manner.

Issued by:

Cassius Selala: Northern Region; Communications Officer, South African National Parks, Tel: (012) 426-5195 or 078-223- 6682,

Media Inquiries:

Wanda Mkutshulwa: Head Communications, South African National Parks,Tel: (012) 426-5201 or 082-908 2692