Celebrating the World Wetlands Day

Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Wetlands Day, yesterday, the 2nd of February2019. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, therefore the treaty became commonly known as the Ramsar Convention.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to this treaty hence it is mandated to protect and treat wetlands as special habitats for several forms of plants, birds and animals. Moreover, Zimbabwe together with other  168 contracting parties have committed themselves to; work towards the sustainable  use of all their wetlands, designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management and cooperate internationally on trans boundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.

Designated Ramsar Sites in Zimbabwe

In accordance to the Ramsar Convention, A total of seven (7) sites have been designated as ‘Ramsar protected wetlands’ covering 28 582.40ha and these are as follows;

  • Victoria Falls
  • Driefontein Grasslands
  • Lake Chivero
  • Middle Zambezi/Mana Pools
  • Chinhoyi caves
  • Monavale Vlei and
  • Cleveland Dam

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are areas of land that are flooded with water, either seasonally or permanently. Common names of wetlands in Zimbabwe are Matoro/Mapani (Shona) and Amaxhaphozi (Ndebele).

What drives wetland loss and degradation?

Wetlands often viewed as wasteland and the following result in wetland degradation?

  • Agriculture
  • Grazing animals
  • logging
  • Water diversion through dams, dikes and canalization
  • Infrastructure development, particularly in river valleys and coastal areas
  • Air and water pollution and excess nutrients

What is the theme for 2019?

Wetlands and Climate Change. This year, commemorations will be done at community level, particularly in areas where wetlands have been preserved. Particular attention will be given to those communities that have benefitted from the conservation and wise use of wetlands amid the El Nino effect which has resulted in droughts across the country.

What can be done to preserve wetlands?

The Environmental Management Agency regulates the activities that destroy wetlands. You can also play your part by doing any of the following:

  • Learn More about wetlands and how to protect them
  • Seek non-wetland sites for development
  • Help inform and educate others about the value of wetlands
  • Encourage and support local laws to protect wetlands
  • If you see what you think may be illegal wetland work, report it to EMA.

What does the law say about Wetlands?

Wetlands in Zimbabwe are protected by law and authority for their utilisation may be granted by EMA. Wetlands are fragile and sensitive ecosystems on which human interference should be avoided completely.


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