An agreement signed on 23 December 2022 by Mrs Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister for Environment and Spatial Development (Flanders, Belgium) and Dr Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, will support Contracting Parties in Africa to initiate or complete their national wetland inventories and thereby enable them to fulfil their commitments under the Convention.
National wetland inventories provide information about the extent and status of a country’s wetlands and are an important tool or mechanism to track changes over time. Without a national wetland inventory, it becomes challenging for a country to monitor the state of wetlands on its territory and to develop effective policies and take appropriate actions to ensure effective management, conservation and restoration.
Ten countries in Africa have yet to complete a national wetland inventory, according to the findings of an analysis commissioned by the Secretariat of the Convention in 2020.
Under the agreement, the Flemish Ministry will provide EUR 247,500 to the Secretariat for the beneficiary countries to receive capacity building and technical support to initiate and complete their national wetland inventories. Furthermore, countries will receive guidance on how to effectively report to the Convention. In this way, the Ministry is supporting the battle against biodiversity loss and highlighting the importance of creating and conserving so-called green-blue networks, where nature and water are intertwined. This initiative also contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate mitigation and adaptation, and nature-based solutions.
The Convention on Wetlands is co-custodian with the UN Environment Programme of Sustainable Development Goal indicator 6.6.1, tracking changes over time in the extent of water-related ecosystems. The global data from national wetland inventories enables the Convention to fulfil this responsibility.
“I am delighted with the initiative of my Ministry to provide the necessary support for the development of wetland inventories in a number of African countries. In cooperation with the local experts, a better understanding of the status of wetlands will be obtained, which will allow the implementation of necessary management actions for their conservation and sustainable use,” said Dr Janine van Vessem, the Convention’s National Focal Point for Belgium.
Support to Contracting Parties of the Convention to develop or complete their national wetland inventories is listed among the main fundraising priorities of this triennium, which runs from 2023 to 2025.