Strengthened laws and policies that promote the conservation of wetlands would add more weight to efforts aimed at protecting these ecosystems, said a Namibian conservation scientist.
Kenneth /Uiseb said improving public awareness on the value of wetlands and increasing efforts to address key causes of wetlands degradation, and promoting integrated water resource management, could also help.
/Uiseb, Deputy Director for Scientific Services at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, on Tuesday evening gave a talk in Windhoek on the conservation and management of wetlands in Namibia.
/Uiseb said the main threat facing wetland management in Namibia is the over-use of their resources, due to increased human population.
Other threats to wetland management include alien invasive species, pollution and nutrient loading, physical alteration to natural water courses, erosion and siltation to deforestation and overgrazing.
/Uiseb said wetlands are important as they provide ecosystem services including natural resources and habitat. They control floods, they purify water and recharge aquifer.
He said wetlands are also important to eco-tourism and as recreational sites. They also play a role in fighting climate-change through carbon sequestration.
Namibia is a party to the UN Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (also known as the Ramsar Convention) and manage as such the Etosha Pan, Sandwich Harbour, Orange River Mouth and the Walvis Bay Lagoon that are all included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.