Highlights, opportunitiesand challengesSummary for the General Members e-Meeting
1. Recent highlightsConvention on Biological DiversityConference in NagoyaThanks to our lobbying, the new CBD Goalsfor 2010-2020 include: Specific targets for safeguarding freshwater ecosystems Protecting and restoration of a minimum of 15% of all degraded carbon-rich ecosystems – e.g. peatlandsMigratory waterbird flywaysWe completed the 5 year, innovative WingsOver Wetlands project, and products in 2011from this included: The Critical Site Network Tool, the web- tool for key wetland sites for migratory waterbirds in Africa-Eurasian Flyway The Flyway Training Kit implemented, training of trainers in Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, leading to national trainings Continued collaboration was committed under an African-Eurasian Flyway Partnership with the Ramsar Secretariat and BirdLife InternationalConservation & Livelihoods To protect the West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) in 6 West African countries, we turned manatee hunters into fishermen, tourist guides and manatee monitors, and provided community-wide benefits, such as a boat, to stop hunting. This field work is supported by sub-region wide monitoring, national policies and action plans. In Kenya we set up the Kimana Wetlands Association bringing together Masaai herdsmen, farmers and wildlife managers. Jointly they formulated the Wetlands Management Plan that tackles water usages, thereby preventing conflict between user groups and benefits wildlife. We restored mangroves in West Africa and Southeast Asia, providing alternative livelihoods (solar salt production, sustainable fish smoking) to reduce cutting of mangroves, and restored abandoned aquaculture ponds through our innovative silvofishery approach
New Arctic programme up to speed A cross-discipline scientific review of Arctic ecosystems and the impacts of oil & gas industry was adopted by the Arctic Council The dialogue set up between scientists, oil and gas engineers and conservationist led to the changing of location of two planned oil rigs in order to lower their impact on biodiversity and peatland hydrologyClimate change With our encouragement, the Indonesian government declared a two-year moratorium on forest and peatland clearing concessions. This protects – with some exemptions - 55 mln hectares of tropical peatland. We lobbied through climate networks to successfully prevent a loophole in the implementation of the EU Directive on Sustainable Energy that could have led to subsidising of biofuels produced on peatlands The UNFCCC agreed to include ‘wetlands’ in emission accounting under a post- Kyoto Protocol climate agreement. Current accounting will be corrected, and wetland conservation and restoration will be stimulated. We are advocating for a new climate treaty that also includes incentives for wetland restoration, plus bilateral (e.g. REDD+) financing.Global recognition for our work Invited by President Clinton, our CEO became a member of the Clinton Global Initiative where we pledged to restore and conserve more than one million hectares of wetlands, reducing CO2 emissions by at least 100 megatons by 2015. Wetlands International was honoured to receive recognition for excellence from President Clinton at the 2011 Annual Meeting. The Wetlands International Netherlands Foundation was awarded the Dutch CBF-Seal as a trustworthy charity – a sign of sound management and administration
All four GEF projects that Wetlands International led or was partner in are shortlisted in the Global Environment Facility’s ‘GEF 20 best projects’ The Critical Site Network Tool that we developed under the Wings over Wetlands project won first prize of the ESRI/SCGIS International Conservation Mapping Competition in the category “Best Interactive Web Map”New publications
2. Challenges and opportunities in 2012In 2012 Wetlands International will work with a growing portfolio of global and regionalinitiatives and projects that involve conserving and restoring wetlands for a wide range ofvalues. Amongst many others, we will: Strengthen collaboration in our International Waterbird Monitoring Partnership, producing several key global and flyway-wide knowledge products on waterbird populations, that influence wetland conservation designations and management practices Consolidate and connect our experiences in Africa, Latin America and South/ South- East Asia on mangrove conservation and restoration; also initiating applied research on the role and value of mangroves in coastal protection Put a spotlight on “water grabs” as a growing threat to wetlands and dependent local communities and further demonstrate the role of wetlands as natural infrastructure in water resource management in river basins in South Asia, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal and Mali Develop the technical capacities of our civil society partners in India, Indonesia, Mali, Uganda and Central America; increasing understanding of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and developing community disaster risk management plans Facilitate ecosystem restoration projects in wetland areas which will ultimately lead to strengthened asset base of 420,000 people in Guatemala (Pacific coast), India (northeast), Indonesia (Nusa Tengara Timor), Kenya (Ewaso Nyero basin), Uganda, Mali (Inner Niger Delta) and Nicaragua Work with partners to bring forward a major community-based programme, the “Great Green Wall”, which, once funded, will enhance and support ecosystem based livelihood developments in the Sahelian region of Africa, specifically building on our work in Senegal, Mali and Kenya Initiate mechanisms to conserve and restore 250,000 ha of degraded peatland and peat swamp forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan involving private sector investments for climate mitigation; design and develop plans for the restoration of 31,500 ha of degraded peatlands in Moscow Oblast Influence approaches to reduce the linked environmental and social footprint of Shell in major projects in the Arctic, Iraq, Niger delta, Brunei forests and the Albertan oilsands Increase attention for wetlands in global policies and (donor) processes on climate change; including the REDD+ partnership, blue carbon initiative (mangroves), UNFCCC policies (REDD and post Kyoto) and IPCC guidance. Our aim is to improve the policies and guidance provided by these fora using our knowledge on wetland carbon and their restoration and our field experiences.Organisational developmentIn 2012, Wetlands International will continue to invest strongly in the institutionaldevelopment of our network, specifically investing in a global information system to enableus to better share knowledge and manage projects, as well as increasing our networkcapacity to develop programmes, resources and partnerships.