Ramsar Convention and UN Environment commit to greater cooperation for the world’s wetlands

Ramsar Convention and UN Environment commit to greater cooperation for the world’s wetlands

5 December 2016
Mexico

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Ramsar Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego and UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim signed the first Memorandum of Understanding

On 2 December, at the Convention for Biological Diversity’s COP13 summit in Cancun, Ramsar Secretary General Martha Rojas-Urrego and UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim signed the first Memorandum of Understanding between the Ramsar Convention and UNEP.

The MOU outlines overarching themes which form part of the organizations’ respective mandates, and a first agreed work plan which follows these themes.

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to provide a framework of cooperation and understanding, to support collaboration between the organizations to further their shared goals and objectives.

These areas of cooperation include:

  • Improving access to information about the status, condition and policy responses for the sustainable management of wetlands;
  • Improving synergies and maximizing the catalytic role of each of the partners;
  • Supporting the exchange of information and advice;
  • Enabling greater financing of wetlands.

It is now time for climate change action and wetlands can play a key role in this regard, as nature-based solutions for adaptation and mitigation. Wetlands are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems on the planet, contributing significantly to human well-being through water supply and purification, fish stocks, climate regulation, flood regulation, coastal protection, recreational opportunities and, increasingly, tourism.

However, the conversion and loss of wetlands, and the adverse effects of climate change such as rising sea levels which disrupt coastal ecosystems and warmer seas which cause coral bleaching, are leading to a reduction in the services wetlands can provide. Conserving, maintaining and restoring wetland ecosystems are essential to our continuing survival.