World Wetlands Day 2010 -- advance info
World Wetlands Day 2010 - Wetlands, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
“Wetlands, Biodiversity, and Climate Change.” Why this theme for World Wetlands Day 2010? Many of you may know already that 2010 is a big year for biodiversity – in fact, 2010 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity. It all began in 2001 when the European Union agreed that “biodiversity decline should be halted with the aim of reaching this objective by 2010”. An ambitious target indeed, which was picked up in 2002 by the Convention on Biological Diversity when the CBD Parties agreed “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.” Not quite such a lofty mission as the EU’s, but still hugely challenging.
So this is an appropriate time for us to look in some depth at wetland biodiversity and how it is doing, as well as its role in wetland (and of course human) health. Most Ramsar friends are well aware of the importance of species diversity in the designation of Ramsar sites – eight of the nine Criteria for Identifying Wetlands of International Importance are specifically focused on the diversity of species present and their relative abundance. Equally important to Ramsar, of course, is how we are managing wetlands so that we sustain the healthy functioning of wetland ecosystems, including wetland species as well as the non-living components of wetlands upon which species depend – water, nutrients, etc. How much do we know about the recent trends and likely future of wetland biodiversity? Not as much as we would like, but we hope to provide an indication of what we think are the current trends. It probably won’t be good news!
Our additional spotlight on climate change does not need much explanation – climate change is frequently front page news in most countries because of its direct impacts on human lives. Within the world of Ramsar, most of us are living with the impacts of climate change and its impact on wetland biodiversity at both personal and professional levels. As adopted at Ramsar’s COP10 (2008), our Climate Change Resolution (www.ramsar.org/res/key_res_x_24_e.doc) provides brief information on the major implications of climate change for present and future wetland ecosystem health. What are the likely impacts on wetland biodiversity, on water supply, and on human health, as changing conditions impact the ecosystem services we depend upon? What are the likely management options? We hope to be able to provide some broad answers – but no quick solutions.
What will we be producing for WWD2010? As usual we will be providing materials which we hope will both encourage and assist you in organizing WWD events that can focus upon biodiversity and climate change in your national or local setting. Likely products include poster, stickers, information leaflet, comic strip, and more. As usual, we aim to complete these products during the summer and have them ready for mailing and electronic distribution in late September, so stay tuned.
With best wishes, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat
Since its inception, the production and distribution of materials for World Wetlands Day have been financially supported by the Evian Project funded by the Danone Group.