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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ramsar wetlands convention set for Vic Falls

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

Destination Zimbabwe continues to receive an endorsement as ideal for hosting international conferences, with the latest commendation coming from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat whose conference is billed for Victoria Falls in 2025.

The secretariat made its initial visit to the resort city of Victoria Falls this Friday to inspect facilities that will be used during the conference to be held in 2025 and expressed satisfaction with what they saw on the ground.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Deputy Secretary General Mr Jay Aldous told the ZBC News, “We have been very pleased to see the level and about of accommodation, the professionalism of services available and most importantly the hospitality of the local community. It is also important for attendees to be in an environment where they can see wetlands and they can see the protection and wise use that is in place by the host country. So, from the perspective of the secretariat, we think Victoria Falls will be an excellent location for Cop 15.”

Government says the convention will come with numerous opportunities for the country.

“There is an opportunity for Zimbabwe to provide leadership in terms of making sure that the Ramsar Convention is taken forward. It’s about benchmarking, the leadership benchmarking will take quite some time. Once we host this conference, we will be providing leadership for about three years. If you are in leadership, you have to live by the leadership principles. It means during this time we need to do more to show that we are worthy of leading that process. It will be an opportunity for tourism, with 172 countries coming to Zimbabwe, it’s an opportunity to showcase what we have in terms of what we have not just in tourism, but a whole lot of other areas in terms of how we are managing our biodiversity,” noted the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Ambassador Raphael Faranisi.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is one of the longest-established global multilateral environmental agreements.

The Convention was signed in Ramsar, the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1971 and to date has a membership of 172 parties. Zimbabwe became a party to the convention in 2013.

Zimbabwe designated a total of seven Ramsar Wetland sites covering 28 582,40 hectares. The sites include Victoria Falls, Driefontein Grasslands, Mana Pools, Lake Chivero, Monavale Vlei, Chinhoyi Caves and Cleveland Dam.

The country developed a National Wetlands Policy in 2021 to set out the strategic direction and guiding principles for the protection of wetlands in the country.

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