International Forum on Wetlands at the City of Knowledge

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In recent days the City of Knowledge Training and Business Center held the International Forum on Wetlands: Relevance of planning and environmental impact assessment on the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

In this international forum region specialists discussed case studies on planning and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as well as the exchange of experiences, inclusion of processes, planning rules and participation of stakeholders in decision-making at various sites in North, Central and South America.

The forum began with an Opening Ceremony with the participation of Professor Jorge Arosemena, Executive Director of the City of Knowledge Foundation, and representatives of CREHO, Ramsar Secretariat and the ANAM.

Dr. Guillermo Castro, Academic Director of the City of Knowledge Foundation, gave a presentation entitled ​​"Territory in three times", which highlighted that nature has played a major role in our formation as human beings. Dr. Castro gave an overview on the history of Panama before the European occupation, where the importance of mangroves was reflected in the fact that they functioned as a resource capable of sustaining large populations. After the European conquest of the Isthmus, the mangrove became a place of refuge for a marginalized population and therefore a dangerous place, until today the mangrove ecosystem is considered a hazard that mainly serves as a place to throw out trash. He also talked about the Panama Canal watershed and the territorial organization of the Isthmus where 70% of the population lives in urban areas, thus generating a very large ecological footprint and therefore a glocal problem: local problems with global dimension. To conclude he stated, "if we want a different environment in Panama then we must create a different society."

For his part Dr. Arturo Dominici, Executive Director of CREHO, gave a lecture on "The CREHO, progress, achievements and future actions on capacity building at a regional level”, where he noted that everything is related in terms of nature. During his lecture he gave examples of wetlands, mentioned they cover 9% of the total surface of the planet and that they are places where water is the main factor. Wetlands today are threatened by several factors and therefore from the Ramsar CREHO Center, with regional headquarters at the City of Knowledge, they promote the best use and conservation of wetlands in the Occidental Hemisphere through training, investigation and cooperation.

Subsequently a panel discussion was held that featured moderator Juan Maté, Director of Scientific Affairs and Operations of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, as well as experts on the subject.

Panama is a country of wetlands; an important part of our natural wealth and biodiversity is part of these ecosystems. However, they are vulnerable and the service they provide is not well known.