2 February 2012: ICIMOD participates in World Wetlands Day celebration


February 2 is observed all over the world as World Wetlands Day (WWD). ICIMOD observes this day every year in different ways. This year the theme was ‘Wetland Tourism’ and ICIMOD participated in the WWD celebration at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) organised by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Government of Nepal. The Koshi Tappu reserve is an important wetland in the flood plains of the Saptakoshi river in eastern Nepal, an important Ramsar site, and an important tourist destination in eastern Nepal. The reserve covers some 175 sq.km in the three districts of Saptari, Sunsari, and Udayapur and harbours a rich array of flora and fauna including large numbers of migratory waterfowl, highly endangered Gangetic dolphins, and Asiatic water buffalo (Arna).

More than 150 school children from the adjoining districts, members of nine buffer zone user committees, and several members of civil society assembled at the park headquarters for the celebration. The Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr Nandan Kumar Dutta, was the chief guest. Other dignitaries present included parliamentarians, buffer zone chairpersons, district administrators, and representatives of several national and international NGOs. Dr Krishna Oli spoke on behalf of ICIMOD about the significance of wetlands, the role of community institutions, and the importance of responsible tourism for generating livelihoods for the local communities. A message from ICIMOD’s Director General Dr David Molden on the occasion of World Wetlands Day was distributed among those gathered.