New Conversations about Wetlands Conservation

Wetlands for the Future Brings New Conversations about Wetlands Conservation

Wetlands for the Future”, which will take place in the first week of June, will see the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties on Wetlands Convention.  

Wetlands ecosystems are very valuable. They are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth and provide very important ecosystems services, which promote the wellbeing of people. Wetlands provide food and control floods; they filter water and offer a unique habitat for many different species.  

Despite their importance, wetlands ecosystems they are often undervalued. As such, they have in the past been victims of unsustainable agriculture, changing land use, extractive economic activities, population increase, migration, and urbanization. The integration of wetland values into planning and decision-making means wetland resources and ecosystem benefits must be measured, valued, and understood widely within societies.

Communication, Education, Public Participation, and Awareness (CEPA) tools are formally recognized by the Ramsar Convention as a high priority in the goal to increase wetlands awareness. In particular, CEPA tools are recognized to have an important role in engaging stakeholders’ participation, which will ultimately promote the wise use of wetlands. (The Ramsar CEPA program, which was first prepared in 1999 and was three times reprogrammed, has the potential to become a mainstream approach when it comes to ecosystem services and benefits.)

Although CEPA expertise and tools values are highly recognized as a part of wetlands conservation, river basin planning, and management, in some instances they are not very well integrated with the different components of plans and projects. Not many countries have a National CEPA Wetlands plan, but there are CEPA activities and actions at different levels.

The Wetlands for the Future gathering, also known as COP12, will be an opportunity to encourage governments to integrate CEPA as a central part of implementing the convention by each contracting party. Recognizing CEPA as an important tool will increase the number of informed advocates, actors, and networks involved in wetland issues and build an informed decision-making and public constituency around these valuable ecosystems.

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