“Wetlands that help us cope with extreme weather events” was the theme of the Wetlands Youth Photo contest, organized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from 2 February to 2 March 2017. Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as storms, floods and droughts are on the increase. When well-managed, healthy wetlands absorb and store excess rainfall and store it for the dry season, which helps communities cope with extreme weather events and protects them from disasters.
The Winning Photo is an aerial view of the Gabaldon floodplain of Neuva Ecija in the Philippines by 21 year old Gabriel B. Mejia. Floodplains can be compared to giant reservoirs that store flood waters. Gabriel B. Mejia from the Philippines wins the main prize, a free flight to visit a Wetland of International Importance courtesy of Star Alliance.
The judging panel that selected the winning photo and the Seven Highly Commended Finalists included Olivier Robert, fine art photographer, Vitalis Hirschmann, active freelance photographer, Janet Northcote, Director Communications, Star Alliance, Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Staff of the Secretariat.
The Global Photo Contest received over 700 entries from young people 18 to 25 years and was organized on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2017 under the umbrella theme Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Highly Commended Finalists
First Highly Commended Finalist – Ill and Rhine River floodplain “Grand Ried” Alsace, France by Elena Landmann.
Second Highly Commended Finalist– Floating house, Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazon, Brazil by Aline Fidelix. For six months in the year when the Reserve floods, residents have to adapt to living above water.
Third Highly Commended Finalist – Mangroves, Djebadji coastal village, Benin by Benjamin Bureau. Mangroves shield coastal communities during storm surges, sea level rise and tsunamis.
Fourth Highly Commended Finalist – Shatt al-Arab River, Abu al khaseeb, Basra Iraq by Mustafa Abdulmttaleb Ali
Fifth Highly Commended Finalist– Mangroves along the Watamu coastal town, Kenya by Paloma de Andrés Ródenas
Sixth Highly Commended Finalist– Kakerdaja peat bog, Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve, Estonia by Diana Elisa. Peatlands store more carbon than all the world’s forests combined, which helps mitigate climate change.
Seventh Highly Commended Finalist– Mangrove Swamp, Pagbilao Quezon, Philippines by Adriane B. Tobias.