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World Wetlands Day – 2024!

World Wetlands Day, celebrated on 2nd February every year, emphasizes the crucial role of wetlands in human prosperity and a healthy planet. The 2024 theme, “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”, is about the interconnectedness between wetlands and various aspects of human health.

EWNRA contribution for Wetlands Restoration in the country
By Afework Hailu
Executive Dircetor of EWNRA

Ethiopia is endowed with immense wetland ecosystems that are distributed throughout the country from the lowlands in the Afar depression to the highlands in the Bale Mountains. They exist in various types such as swamps, marshy wetlands, flood plains, natural and human-made lakes, peaty wetlands, swamp forest wetlands, etc. These wetlands have contributed to the well-being of many communities and the many life- supporting services provided by these wetlands include water supplies for humans and livestock, fish supplies, raw materials such as reed and papyrus, medicinal plants, food through wetland agriculture and many other benefits. Furthermore, they provide immense ecological functions that include maintaining the hydrological cycle, flood and erosion control, as well as offering refuge for many endemic life forms and a store of biodiversity. However, due to lack of limited information and research on wetlands, excessive resource utilization, drainage and damage, wetlands in the country are consequently facing a serious threat that has resulted in the loss of many of the original wetlands and threatens the existing ones.
In order to contribute towards the challenges wetlands encountered across the nation Ethio Wetlands and Natural Resources Association (EWNRA) is established at the end of three years research work by a consortium of universities, of which Addis Ababa University and Huddersfield University (UK) were the key players. In this regard EWNRA is a Pioneer NGO to specialize in the sustainable management of wetlands and associated natural resources In Ethiopia. It starts working on wetlands since its establishment in the year 2000 through disseminating three years wetland research findings, creating awareness on wetland issues, contributing towards policy dialogue for the country to issue wetland policy and becoming a signatory to the International Wetland Convention commonly known as Ramsar Convention.
Over the last twenty-three years EWNRA has engaged in implementing a number of small-scale projects that has contributed for wise use and wetland restoration in Ilu Ababora Zone Oromia Regional State and in Fogera District in Amhara Regional States. Wichi Wetland that was fully restored in Metu District of Ilu Ababora Zone is a living witness in terms of wetland restoration undertaken by EWNRA. EWNRA developed and distributed a number of technical wetland documents to help wetland restoration in local languages such as Amharic and Affan Oromifa. Further to enhance the restoration and conserving the existing wetlands, EWNRA has put a lot of effort into developing a wetland policy and engaging in wise use of wetlands and working in close collaboration with government partners and NGOs.

In 2023 EWNRA organized a Wetland Day in collaboration with Arba Minch University in Arba Minch town. The event has created a good opportunity to create partnership with key stakeholders and join hands in restoring wetland and natural resources to the benefit of the community without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.