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World Wetlands Day: recognition for role wetlands in climate change adaptation


During World Wetlands Day, the spotlight is on the importance of wetlands for reducing impacts of climate change. Globally, there is a growing recognition of the key role that the protection and restoration of wetlands like marshes, peatlands, mangroves and coral reefs can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to its impacts. Now, this recognition has to be turned into action.



Recognition by global conventions

Both the Ramsar Convention (Resolution X.24) on Wetlands and the Convention of Biological Diversity (Decision VII/15) also emphasise this in their resolutions, decisions and key messages. This clearly demonstrates the international recognition of the role of wetlands in climate adaptation strategies and is a call for action towards Parties under the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide the pathway to prioritize it.

Pieter van Eijk, Wetlands International: “The value of ecosystems for climate change adaptation is now explicitly recognised in the Adaptation text that was on the table at the climate summit in Copenhagen. This is an important step but needs to be taken forward through the financing and implementation of ecosystem based adaptation approaches at all levels of adaptation planning and policies.”

For this reason, Wetlands International clearly calls for improved, explicit criteria and guidance on the environmental impacts of projects to be financed within the framework of the Adaptation Fund. 


Global campaign on role of wetlands for adaptation by Wetlands International

This year’s theme of World Wetlands Day is strongly supported by Wetlands International which runs a global campaign to put this on the political agenda. In 6 countries demonstration projects have started to research the ability of wetlands to reduce peak flood flows, form a buffer against impacts of sea level rise and storms and provide water in periods of extreme droughts.

The project will provide the knowledge base for training programmes to national and local policy makers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, like delegation members of the UNFCCC process, relevant river basin authorities, and donors on climate change adaptation programmes.

Example of our work on climate change adaptation: Guinea Bissau

Just last week a new project was launched with the support of the government of Guinea Bissau to research the extent to which mangroves can cope with increasing sea levels and salt water intrusion. The project will also restore a significant number of mangrove forests in Guinea Bissau. For this project Wetlands International builds on the experiences of other previous mangrove restoration of Wetlands International in Asia and Africa. The first outcomes of this project are expected at the end of this year. Read the full press release.

More information:

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World Wetlands Day celebrations around the globe

Many offices of Wetlands International hold special celebrations, raising awareness of wetland roles and services. Here a small overview:


Wetlands International Thailand is celebratingWorld Wetlands Day at Laem Son National park in Bang Ben on February 2nd.Activities include a wetland exhibition and workshop for the development of the provincial wetland management plan, discussing the establishment of a provincial wetland management committee. The event will officially be opened by the Ranong Governor. Download the flyer or visit the Wetlands International Thailand website.


Wetlands International Russia is organising the World Wetlands Day celebration on February 3rd in the Khodynka convention centre,MoscowCo-organisers are the Russian NGOs Birds and People and Serebryany Bor. Field workers and well-known ecologists share their experiences during the meeting. The celebrations feature by a performance of trained birds, as well as children and musicians bring an ode to wetlands.

On February 6th, the K.A. Timiryazev State Biological Museum inMoscow will be the place for another celebration: the Mysteries of Boloto (Peatlands) Festival, featuring quizzes, contests (e.g. paper frog race), peatland biodiversity exhibitions, and much more. Read more on the website of Wetlands International Russia (Russian).


Desa Sawah Luhur in Banten BayIndonesiawill be the location forWetlands International Indonesia’s World Wetlands Daycelebration on February 6thThe local community, school students, government officials, journalists, and others will participate, totaling some 150 participants. The event is divided into presentations and mangrove planting, with the aim of raising awareness among the local community and students on the role of wetlands in adaptating to climate change and livelihood benefits.Download the flyer or visit the website of Wetlands International Indonesia.


Wetlands International’s Kenya office will participate in the World Wetlands Day celebration headed by Kenya’s National Environment and Management Authority on 2nd of February at Kiohoto grounds, LakeNaivasha. Activities include tree planting at the Lakeview Primary School, and will feature contributions from officials from Naivasha Municipal Council, members of parliament, UNEP, UN-Habitat, UNDP and others. Read more… (RSPB site).





Communications and Media Coordinator

Wetlands International Africa

Phone: +221 33 869 16 81


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