The public talk was held on Wednesday, 2nd February 2011to mark World Wetlands Day(WWD), in collaboration with Wetlands Management Department (WMD) under the global theme "Wetlands and Forests". This theme was chosen because 2011 is the UN Internationational Year of Forests and the slogan is Forests for water and wetlands.

Every year, the 2nd of February marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands which took place on 2nd, participants.JPGFebruary 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since 1997, government agencies, non-gorvenmental organisations and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have been taking advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular.

Wetlands and forests provide a large array of ecosystem services to Ugandans in urban and rural areas but various assessments indicate a reduction in their coverage due to conversion to cropland, urban settlements and others. While such conversions provide economic benefits, they are associated with social costs due to total loss of hydrological functions, habitat benefits and other ecosystem services. The conservation of these habitats has been highlighted as a priority and the lead agencies mandated to protect and conserve them (National Environment Management Authority-NEMA, National Forestry Authority-NFA and Wetlands Management Department (WMD) are facing challenges in stopping this habitat's destruction.

Its now 40 years after signing the Ramsar convention and 20 years of Wetlands conservation in Uganda. What have we achieved in 20 years? Are wetlands better off today than 20 years ago, or have they remained waste lands? This public talk was organised to talk to raise awareness about linkages between wetlands, water and forests and highlighted mitigation measures to reverse the alarming rate of destruction of these habitats. Presentation on Wetlands

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