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Connection between health of wetlands and humans in focus
Date:2/1/2008

Despite the vital role wetlands play in society, they remain among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. To emphasise the direct and positive effects of healthy wetlands for humans, the theme of this years World Wetlands Day, held every year on 2 February, is Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People.

According to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the poor management of wetlands claims the lives of more than 3 million people every year and brings suffering to many more. Because wetlands are often made up of difficult and inaccessible terrain, Earth Observation (EO) satellites can aid conservation efforts by inventorying, monitoring and assessing wetland ecosystems.

This years theme underlines the fact that well-managed wetlands provide humans with clean water, the provision of food and pharmaceutical products, while mismanaged wetlands result in the impairment of our health or death through the effects of water-related diseases, burning peatlands, floods and water pollution.

Saturday commemorates the date in 1971 that the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national actions and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources, was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. To date there are 157 signatories, which are obliged to report on the state of the wetlands they have designated.

This complex and challenging task requires national, local and international bodies involved in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention to rely on suitable geo-information to better understand wetland areas, complete national inventories, perform monitoring activities, carry out assessments and implement suitable management plans based on updated and reliable information.

To aid in these efforts, ESA, in collaboration with the Ramsar Secretariat, launched the GlobWetland project in 2003 to produce satellite-d
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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