22 March: World Water Day

Today, to mark this year’s World Water Day, SG Anada Tiéga is attending a symposium in Geneva, jointly organised by the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH) and the Global Network for Rights and Development, Earth Focus Foundation, Association of World Citizens and other organisations, including IUCN and UNEP.

In his presentation, Mr Tiéga explained how the Ramsar Convention integrates in its daily work the interdependence between people and the environment. “Much of the impact of our changing and increasingly extreme climate on our future world will be felt through water. Already today, 70% of available water is used for agriculture” he said. It is crucial to identify areas of potential shortage or conflict and understand the essential role of wetlands in improving water quality, biodiversity conservation and groundwater recharge among other key functions.

Mr Tiéga concluded his presentation by underlining the importance of adopting policies to address trade-offs among current land uses and water allocation and reminded the audience of the valuable information and advice provided by the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment.

The Ramsar Secretariat launched last year a set of factsheets profiling the ‘ecosystem services’ – the benefits people obtain from ecosystems – provided by wetlands. They illustrate the great diversity of ecosystem services delivered by wetlands, including for example their capacity to purify water and replenish groundwater sources, and the tremendous loss to people and their well-being when these services are lost or reduced.

See Ramsar Factsheets: ‘Wetlands Ecosystem Services’

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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