Panamanian wetlands event at City of Knowledge

On Thursday, February 2, the special event «Tourism in Wetlands: A Great Experience» was held at the Convention Center inside the City of Knowledge, commemorating World Wetlands Day.

The event began with welcoming remarks by Jorge Arosemena, Executive Director of the City of Knowledge Foundation, who referred to wetlands as priority areas for the development of Panama.

Edgar Chacon, Director of Protected Areas and Wildlife of the ANAM, said that they promote the conservation of wetlands due to the importance they have for tourism and for the people who benefit from them. He also stressed the importance of wetlands known as Ramsar sites: Punta Patiño, Darien; the Gulf of Montijo, Veraguas; San San-Pond Sak, Bocas del Toro; Damani–Guariviara, in the Ngäbe Bugle region and the Bay of Panama; but made it clear that ANAM has an obligation to promote the value of all wetlands in the country.

Engineer Abdiel Delgado, of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), presented his experiences in the Mangrove Reforestation Project at Chiriquí, due to the Canal Expansion Program. He talked about the task of identifying the affected area, the training of the people, the difficulties encountered, the follow-up plan, interviews and surveys conducted, community benefits and their reforestation efforts in the area.

Betzuke Camargo, of the Ramsar Regional Center for Training and Research on Wetlands in the Western Hemisphere, spoke about the Tools and Induction Training on Wetlands. She noted that these tools contribute to the technical and administrative staff to gain a better understanding and thus have a guide to handle the conservation of wetlands. These tools include workshops, courses, manuals, and basic guidance on wetlands for their management.

Mr. Romulo Pineda and Alfonso Herrera, of the ARTURIS group, spoke about the Role and Impact of ARTURIS Coiba at Coiba National Park. They mainly emphasized the initiative of the “Jujuná» Path that allows for the interaction of tourists (domestic and international) with the mangroves located in the Gulf of Montijo.

The event continued with a presentation on Tourism and Wetlands by Juan Portugal, of the Direction of Planning and Development of the Tourism Authority of Panama, who compared the wetlands with hotels that provide shelter to a significant number of migratory birds and other species of animals and plants. He also referred to the Ramsar Convention and how it ensures the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Rosabel Miró, of the National Wetlands Committee of Panama, made ​​some final reflections about the use of wetlands in Panama. She talked about her experience in observing and photographing birds that used to inhabit the area of Costa del Este, Juan Diaz and Tocumen Swamps, which are in danger of disappearing. Moreover, she insisted that some of the most beautiful areas of Panama are wetlands with eco-tourism potential that would strengthen the Panamanian economy.

The event concluded with words from Ms. Rozi Ramirez, Head of the Integrated Coastal Management of the ARAP (Water Resources Authority of Panama), who emphasized the importance of bringing these issues to universities, schools, colleges, organized and unorganized groups, so that they can get to know the initiatives to protect and conserve wetlands in Panama.