World Wetlands Day
Bonn, Germany – To celebrate the World Wetlands Day and to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Ramsar Convention, UNCCD has joined other international organizations for a virtual panel discussion "Wetlands: Securing fresh water for all" on 1 February 2021.
Often regarded as “free goods” in conventional economic analysis. wetlands supply important services to the global economy, with the total value estimated at 70 billion USD per year for Asia alone. Nonetheless, these ecosystems are under serious threat: wetlands are disappearing three times faster than natural forests due to drainage, conversion, disruption of natural flows, pollution, over-harvesting and introduction of invasive species. From 1970 to 2008, world's wetlands declined by 30 per cent.
Joining the online panel on behalf of UNCCD, the Deputy Executive Secretary Tina Birmpili described the Land Degradation Neutrality programme which now unites close to 130 country Parties to protect, sustainable manage and restore land resources. For example, UNCCD supports a peatland restoration project in Belarus to rewet 33,000 ha of degraded peat- and mirelands and achieve multiple benefits such as mitigating impacts of climate change and improving traditional livelihoods.
Ms. Birmpili also highlighted the role of healthy wetlands as a powerful carbon sink: they hold a record amount of soil carbon, approximately 30 per cent of the Earth’s total, despite occupying only 5‐8 per cent of its land surface. Ms. Brmpili also presented the Great Green Wall, an African-led initiative that has recently received major funding to meet its land restoration targets, including the revival of freshwater flows or "blue lines" in the Sahel.