Malawi commemorates natural resources days

“It is very important to conserve our biodiversity. We are beneficiaries of our parents prudent use of natural resources; hence it will be important to consider the future generations too,” said Honorable Vera Kamtukule during the joint commemoration of the World Wetlands, World Wildlife and World Ranger Days on 5 June 2023 at Dyeratu Primary School Ground in Chikwawa under the theme ‘Partnerships for Nature Conservation and Restoration’. The days were commemorated on one selected day due to financial limitations.

The joint commemoration brought together members of the general public, community associations, schools, partners working in the wildlife and natural resources management sector and representatives from Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts.  

The day started with a parade by rangers in collaboration with the Malawi Prison Band, a comedy on natural resources by Antonyo and Alufisha, a panel discussion on the importance of the conservation of natural resources from a wildlife club, dances and poems, among others.

(i) World Wildlife Day

The 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 3 March as World Wildlife Day (WWD) to raise awareness for the need to step up actions to address the plight of wildlife worldwide. The day was first commemorated in 2014, and Malawi joined the rest of the world in commemorating the day.

It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild flora/fauna and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that the conservation of fauna and flora provides to people. At the same time, the day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and the human-induced reduction of wildlife species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental, and social impacts. 

Internationally World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March each year. This Year’s World Wildlife Day 2023 was held under the theme “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation” to commemorate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental and nongovernmental to local scale or honouring the people who are making a difference in wildlife conservation, not forgetting local communities.

(ii) World Wetlands Day

Wetlands are land areas saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally. Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. World Wetlands Day is internationally celebrated on 2 February each year, and the aim is to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands to people and our planet to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them. This year’s theme, “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration,” highlights the urgent need to prioritise wetland restoration. Wetlands are being lost faster than forests.

(iii) World Rangers Day

Celebrated every year on 31 July to commemorate or honour rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates the work rangers do. This day is observed mainly for the following reasons: 

  • Honouring the fallen rangers and their families and reminding us never to take park and forest rangers for granted, considering the selflessness and sacrifices these men and women make every day in the line of duty (others losing life or becoming incapacitated in the name of conserving ad protecting wildlife resources). To date, more than 1000 have died in the line of duty; 
  • Spreading awareness to inspire others due to the amazing contribution that the rangers make every day and 

To inspire the next generation of park rangers, i.e., encourage young people to consider careers in parks and forest rangers through educational programs of the day. This is crucial as these are future custodians of wildlife resources. This year’s theme is “Inspire the next generation of park rangers”.

Additionally, the DNPW arrived at this decision in the reorganisation of the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade declaration, which encourages range states to destroy its seized ivory which cannot be traded, to avoid getting into the hands of those dealing in illicit wildlife trades.