US Embassy Commemorates World Wetlands Day

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hosted a panel discussion with Iraqi government and civil society leaders on January 31 in commemoration of World Wetlands Day. World Wetlands Day is celebrated around the world to promote public awareness of wetlands’ ecological, economical, and social value and benefits.

The program featured remarks by Shaimaa Ubaid Karim of the Center for Restoration of Iraqi Marshlands (CRIM) and Embassy Economic Minister Counselor Steven Zate. A panel discussion addressed current efforts to restore Iraq’s marshlands and protect Iraq’s natural resources.

Panelists included United Nations Deputy Special Representative Jacqueline Badcock, NGO Nature Iraq Chairman Azzam Alwash, Ministry of Environment Marshlands Department Official Hazim Abduljalil, and CRIM Office Director Samirah Adib. The event also featured the Iraqi film “Paradise Lost,” with questions and answers with the Director, Saad Nima.

Mr. Zate stressed the U.S. Government’s commitment to wetland conservation, stating:

The U.S. Government supports this Iraqi commitment [to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands] and has pledged to assist Iraq in strengthening mechanisms for preserving, improving, and developing the Iraqi environment through our joint activities.

World Wetlands Day commemorates the 1971 signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. 2013 marks the 42nd Anniversary of the Convention, and this year’s theme is Wetlands and Water Management. Americans and others around the world are focusing their efforts on the protection of local wetlands in recognition of their value and functions, including flood control, groundwater replenishment, water purification, storm protection, and cultivation of biodiversity, as well as their cultural value for local communities.

For further information, visit the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science Web site at www.state.gov/e/oes and the Ramsar website at www.ramsar.org

(Source: US State Department)

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