Power of partnerships needed for world's wetlands

06 July 2012 | News story

At the opening of the 11th Conference of the Contracting Parties (CoP) of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre called on governments to support strong partnerships as key to moving from aspiration to implementation for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

“Ramsar has grown from the germ of an idea in 1962, into a global Convention ratified by 162 countries, covering more than 2,040 wetlands of international importance. Success has come from working together”, said Julia Marton-Lefèvre in her opening address to the conference.

IUCN has been working for over 50 years working in partnerships to implement the Ramsar Convention for wise wetland use since it was first ratified in 1971. As a Union of governments, NGOs and volunteer scientists, IUCN provides a solid platform for the partnerships that the Ramsar Convention and its Parties need to succeed in the their goals for protecting the world’s wetlands.

For example, IUCN is working with the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda, at the Lake Bisina, Lake Opeta and Lake Mburo-Nakivale Ramsar sites. Together, Wetland Community Conservation Areas were set up as a means of bringing together communities, local government and the national authorities, to put ‘wetland wise use’ into action. All are reaping the benefits of recovering water quality, less conflict over water, more sustainable fishing, and biodiversity conservation.

“These partnerships are really important. They work locally, but this is how implementation works on the ground. It is exactly these kinds of collaborations that will be needed to put decisions made this week into action, at local and global levels”, said Mark Smith, Director IUCN Global Water Programme.

Led by the Ramsar Secretariat, another partnership between IUCN, Wetlands International, UNEP and others, recently announced the ‘TEEB’, or Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, study on Water and Wetlands.

“TEEB for Water and Wetlands will make the case that wetlands are natural water infrastructure and should be part of any investment strategies for water, food and energy security”, said Ms Marton-Lefèvre. TEEB for Water and Wetlands will join the influential set of TEEB reports, that are showing policy makers how the wealth of nature underpins our economy.

The 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP11) is being held in Bucharest, Romania from 6 – 13 July 2012. The slogan for this year’s conference is “Wetlands: home and destination”.

For more information, please visit: www.ramsar.org