Get the solutions flowing

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.

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invitation card



International World Wetlands Day

 2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Each year (since 1997), government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits, and the Ramsar Convention. Learn more.


Support provided by the government of Norway 




International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. In recognition, World Water Day on 22 March 2013, is dedicated to water cooperation. According to the UN, the objective is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services.

The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify critical issues related to water cooperation. Learn more.

Kick off event

Video and photos

Final programme

Link to panelists, topics and expected outcomes

Case studies

Biographies of panelists

List of Attendees 

“Good water management for clean natural water and biodiversity is a collective responsibility of entrepreneurs, civil society and government”

Alexandra van Huffelen, Vice Mayor of Rotterdam City

“Wetlands International is driven by the knowledge that conservation and restoration of wetlands is a vital strategy to improve water security. Investment in water-related natural infrastructure can provide a cost-effective opportunity, for example to ensure adequate water retention and increase coastal resilience. We hope this event will help to stimulate more joined up thinking by government, businesses and civil society to bring ecosystem approaches more centrally into water resource management

Jan Ernst de Groot, Chair, Wetlands International

“I deeply believe that progressive businesses need to look at their externalities to understand and manage their impacts and dependencies on natural resources, and the way these interact with societies and economies. I strongly encourage all companies to start accounting for the real value of the water they are using, and wetlands they impact and depend on; and to do it now, before it is too late.”

Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD