World Wetlands Day 2010 to be observed by Orissa’s Chilika Development Authority

An invitation to celebrate World Wetlands Day at at Jyantipur village located at the shore line of Chilika lake by the Chilka Development Authority

Chilika LakeBhubaneswar: World Wetlands Day is observed on 2 February every year. It marks the date of signing of the convention on wetlands on 2nd February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. This day presents us with a welcome opportunity to join together in celebrating the benefits that we all receive from wetlands, as well as to raise the awareness of the local communities who derive their livelihood about the importance of these vital ecosystems for our common future. The Ramsar Bureau (Secretariat) took a decision to observe the World wetland day on 2nd February in 1997. Chilika Development Authority has been observing World Wetlands Day way back from 1997 i.e. from the first year of observation of WWD.

The WWD is observed by CDA in and around Chilika Lake with the active participation of local communities. For optimizing the objectives of the WWD celebration instead of observing it at Bhubaneswar it is invariably observed in and around Chilika by CDA .

This year’s theme, Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change, with the slogan “Caring for wetlands: an answer to climate change”, captures the sense of urgency we all feel about the need to address the potentially disastrous consequences of global climate change as quickly as possible, particularly in the wake of the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC back in December-09, and it emphasizes our belief that the role of wetlands in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change must be central in all future debates about the way forward.

Moreover, 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. We are all aware that the wetlands provide livelihood to the local communities and more importantly the ecosystem services provided by the wetlands is of great significance to the local communities. Most importantly, through the celebration of WWD -2010 it would be emphasized that , not only that wetlands must be a key part of any progress in global climate change context, but also that the problems of climate change must be  addressed in a holistic, multi-sectoral, ecosystem-based manner .

This year the WWD would be celebrated at Jyantipur a fisherman village located in the central sector of the Lake. The village is located at the shore line of Chilika.

Chilika LakeThe observation would commence with a boat rally. Considering the importance of the theme of the WWD 2010 the school children are involved in a big way.  To create awareness about the WWD 2010 among the school children and to sensitize them about the conservation and wise use of wetland resources, essay and debate competitions on the WWD-2010 theme was conducted in all the sectors of Chilika Lake. It took more than one month to complete the process. The competition was held in outer channel, northern, central and southern sector of Chilika to involve more number of students. The local NGOs and CBOs facilitated the programme.  1482 students from 78 schools participated in the essay competition and 1438 students from 73 Schools participated in the drawing competition. To make the process transparent and the evaluation system more rational the answer sheets and the drawing sheets totalling 2866 numbers were evaluated centrally. After the zonal / sector level competition was over in the first phase the winners of zonal level competitions    (14 in drawing competition and 15 in essay competition) were chosen for the second level competition on 29.1.2010 at WRTC, Chandraput under the direct supervision of CDA officials.  Out of the total 29 students who excelled from different sectors, three students from each category were selected from the above competition who would be receiving the prize from the chief guest on 2nd February 2010. Miss Archana Baliyarasingh, of Kaduaghat Academy Kaudikhani, Bhatapada a discrete village stood first in essay competition and Miss Bijayini Sahoo, Class- VIII, Brundaban High school, village Rahadamala stood first in sit and draw competition. The students would speak on the occasion on the WWD-2010 theme and on the wetland conservation with particular reference to Chilika. This would be followed by the release of the customized poster on the WWD-2010. A customized poster developed by the Ramsar Secretariat is translated to Oriya and is reproduced which would provide a sense of how wetland biodiversity can be adversely affected by climate change and, most of all, of the importance of robust biological diversity in maintaining the wetlands’ ability to provide the ecosystem services, and protect us from the extreme climatic events like cyclone, tsunami, flood and drought, in the face of climate change effects, upon which we all depend. The poster would be distributed to all schools in and around Chilika.

The Chilika MLA and the Special Secretary Environment would grace the observation.

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