Today, February 2nd, 2018 , The Turks & Caicos Islands join with the rest of the world in celebrating World Wetlands Day. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
We cannot understate the importance of wetlands, and the value of goods and services they provide.Wetlands ensure fresh water and replenish ground water;
- Wetlands purify and filter harmful toxins;
- Wetlands are breeding grounds for many commercially important fish species;
- Wetlands provide vital habitats for migratory birds;
- Wetlands ease flooding and safeguard against drought;
- Wetlands reduce the impacts of erosion; and
- Wetlands provide sustainable livelihoods.
For these reasons, and more, the government is committed to sustainable financing of these critical habitats, as they underpin our “Beautiful by Nature” tourism product. We are blessed to have in the Turks and Caicos Islands the North, Middle and East Caicos Nature Reserve, declared an international Ramsar site. This wetland is of international importance contains a variety of habitat types noteworthy of the region, namely excellent mangrove swamp, and a rich array of fauna and flora. The significance of the Ramsar Site on the international stage, is one of the reasons, we can boast annually as we recognise and participate in World Wetlands Day celebrations!
As we continue the recovery process, in the wake of two catastrophic hurricanes, we can no doubt appreciate the resilience of our striving wetlands ecosystems, which played an important role in reducing the impacts and safeguarding us from what could have been more adverse damages.
The theme for this year is “wetlands for a sustainable urban future!”, we at the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Culture, Heritage & Gaming encourage you to do your part in protecting and sustaining these important natural habitats.
You can start by joining the Department of Environment & Coastal Resources (DECR) as they celebrate the 5th annual Turks & Caicos Islands, World Wetlands Day clean-up initiatives:
Join the DECR on Saturday, 3 February, from 07:30 – 09:00am at Wheeland Pond, Blue Hills, Providenciales or at North Creek (meeting point: west side of the mouth) in Grand Turk in an attempt to conserve our wetlands for a sustainable urban future!
Please take this opportunity to get involved in your local community and to ensure wetlands for a sustainable urban future!