Wetlands management is the manipulation of an ecosystem to ensure maintenance of all functions and characteristics of the specific wetland type. The wetland management involves activities to manage, protect, restore, manipulate and provide for the functions and values, emphasizing both quality and acreage by advocating for sustainable usage of them. Wetland protection goals involve buffering wetlands from any direct human pressures that could affect wetlands’ normal functions and also maintaining important natural processes that operate on them that may be altered by human activities.
The importance of wetlands is, water storage, acting as natural earth sponges and are sources of water for all rivers and streams. The importance also includes soaking up rain slowly and recharging ground water, rivers and streams and water quality regulation through natural filtration. They also provide habitat for plants and animals that live in semi aquatic conditions.
My audit was on protection of wetlands by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA). The audit covered government designated wetlands and those under the Ramsar Convention. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The Agency is responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of the environment. EMA is a statutory body established under the Environmental Management Act 13 of 2002 [Chapter 20:27]. The audit covered the period January 01, 2014 to July 31, 2019. The audit was carried out in five provinces out of the ten. The purpose of carrying out the audit was to assess whether the protection of the wetlands by EMA was being done, efficiently and effectively.