Engaging Youth in Wetlands Conservation and Management at Hirakud Reservoir, Odisha

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Wetlands International South Asia and Water Initiatives organised a youth exposure programme on February 12, 2023, at Hirakud Reservoir in Odisha. The programme was supported by Sambalpur Wildlife Division, Government of Odisha; JCI Sambalpur Foundation for Ecological Security (FES); Mahanadi River Waterkeeper,Sambalpur Kala Academy; and Yuva Udayan. The youth exposure was organised under the BMU-IKI funded Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection and GEF-UNEP-MoEFCC funded Integrated Management of Wetland Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Projects.

The event was attended by over 70 participants, including students, biodiversity experts, local water champions, and representatives from corporates and Non-Governmental Organisations. The event was chaired by the Divisional Forest Officer, Wildlife, Ms Anshu Pragyan Das.

During engaging conversations and a tour of the Hirakud Reservoir, the youth participants of the programme were educated about the benefits of wetlands and ways they might contribute to their conservation. The conservation measures that would be implemented in the future were discussed by Ms. Das, who also urged cooperation and active youth involvement in her call for action.

Interaction with youths in progress

During the event, a factsheet was also released to raise awareness on significance, threats and conservation actions on Coastal Ecosystems.

Factsheet on Coastal Wetlands released during the World Wetlands Day 23 celebration at Hiraud Reservoir

In order to comprehend the current situation and management requirements, the Wetlands International South Asia team also visited the other three recently recognised Ramsar sites, Tampara Lake, Ansupa Lake, and Satkosia Gorge.