turning talk into action for natural water infrastructure
Joining forces for action: Wetlands International, the City of Rotterdam and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development all have a strong interest in the future of water – and share the ambition to galvanize action to ensure a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.
We are working together on a campaign to increase awareness of the importance of wetlands as natural water infrastructure. We will play a convening and facilitating role to help generate practical solutions and mobilise shared action for improved water management, which recognises and capitalises on the role of ecosystems as natural water infrastructure.
Water is life. Without water there would not be life on Earth. We all depend on water – people, business and ecosystems. At the same time, people and business also impact water, creating problems of water scarcity, excessive floods and pollution. We use it, waste it and degrade it without realising its true value and often take the resource itself and the services it provides for granted.
Wetlands take care of water. Wisely using our wetlands is an essential component of delivering sustainable water management. Wetlands provide natural infrastructure that delivers a wider range of services and benefits than corresponding manmade infrastructure: they can regulate water quantity, contribute to flood regulation and increase resilience to storms in deltas and coastal areas.
Often, they provide a basis for local food security and livelihoods that can be of national and even regional economic significance. Whether considered alone or as a complement to man-made infrastructure, they are an important but often overlooked component of river and coastal zone planning and management. As the loss and degradation of wetlands of all kinds continues to accelerate worldwide, we place our water resources at greater risk and make ourselves more vulnerable to natural hazards. Therefore, it is vital and urgent to integrate these values into decision-making at all scales and across sectors.
The UN International Year of Water Cooperation provides the opportunity to explore needs and opportunities and to turn our talk into action. Throughout 2013, there will be efforts around the world to highlight successful water cooperation initiatives. Burning issues for water management will be identified and commitments made to implement solutions. This worldwide focus on water solutions will provide an opportunity to capitalise on the momentum created at the World Water Forum (2012) and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to develop and manage water resources more sustainably.
The adoption and implementation of integrated water resource management (IWRM) is the recognised global solution to manage water sustainably. This involves managing both the supply and demand of water within a watershed while considering the use of water by different stakeholders and the various roles that natural ecosystems play in the water cycle.