Ramsar and Partners prepare advice on post-tsunami rehabilitation
Note from the Secretary General on the events in the Indian Ocean
Wetlands have an important role to play in ensuring a sustainable future for people in the areas of South and Southeast Asia, devastated by the recent tsunami events. For example, the recovery and rehabilitation of mangroves and linked coastal and marine habitats will be vital to increase coastal protection and support coastal fisheries. Safeguarding other wetland systems in the region will also be important to secure sufficient freshwater supplies. Although these coastal environments have evolved over long periods of time and have been shaped by large scale events such as these, human development pressures have undoubtedly weakened the ability of ecosystems to respond quickly without human intervention.
As part of the global response, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat has asked Wetlands International to coordinate efforts to bring together scientifically sound advice on wetlands in the region to assist governments in establishing the most effective response measures. A joint effort will be established with Ramsar's International Organisation Partners and other relevant research, environmental and aid organisations to combine resources, share information and produce timely advice as and when it is needed. This will include taking steps to deliver sound advice on the role of wetland ecosystems in providing a range of services to local populations and to guide priority activities, such as the restoration of mangrove systems. Such information is important to inform the redevelopment plans in the region and preventative measures in other parts of the world.
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-- Peter Bridgewater