Message from the Director General

Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2012

2 February 2012
Kathmandu, Nepal

ICIMOD, as it celebrates the World Wetlands Day, reflects on its long history of working with Himalayan wetlands. Our studies have focused in particular on:

ICIMOD recognises that many ethnic communities across the HKH derive their daily basic needs from wetlands – whether from farming, fishing, ferrying, panning minerals, or tourism. Wetlands are an important ecosystem directly influencing people’s livelihoods, cultures, and traditions. ICIMOD makes multiple efforts to promote effective conservation and management of wetlands across the HKH.  

The 

 theme for this year, “Wetlands and Tourism”, relates to how responsible management of wetlands can contribute to better livelihoods for people and stronger economies for nations. Tourism in the HKH region, when implemented in an environmentally responsible manner, can play an important role in contributing to livelihoods and sustaining ecosystems and biodiversity. However, tourism is only one of the services wetlands provide; we must not forget the many others. Wetlands are sources of perennial water. They help maintain the water cycle, replenish the soil, and store carbon. They provide habitat for a large number of uniquely adapted birds, animals, and plants, including crops and wild edible species. In many cultures they are also considered a sacred abode of deities and supernatural powers. 

This year ICIMOD, in coordination with the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation in Nepal, is celebrating the day with a small-scale awareness programme for schoolchildren at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, organised by some of our staff and interns from TERI University. In celebrating 

, we express our hope that the wetlands of the HKH and of the world, with their unique environment, biodiversity, and cultural associations, will continue to be an ideal place for responsible tourism. Some of the important and picturesque wetlands in the HKH region worth a visit include Kurumbar in Pakistan; Wular, Hokarsar, and Tso Moriri in India; Manasarovar Lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China; Rara Lake, Tse Phoksundo, Ghora-Ghori, and Koshi Tappu in Nepal; and Phobjikha in Bhutan, to name a few. 

With this note, I encourage you all to visit your nearest wetland, and to resolve to conserve the important values we receive from wetlands.

With best wishes, 
David Molden