Entries for December 2013
Wetlands International awarded the Luc Hoffmann Medal for Excellence in Wetland Science and Conservation to two individuals on Monday. Dr. W.J. Wolff of the Netherlands won the medal in the category of Scientific Research. Ms. Ikal Angelei of Kenya won the medal in the category of Communication, Education and Public Awareness.
In the new book “Downstream Voices” commissioned by Wetlands International, Fred Pearce takes you along his journey to three large river basins in India, Mali and Senegal where Wetlands International improves water resource management and the condition of wetlands to make communities more resilient to extreme weather events and impacts from climate change.
As part of Wetlands International’s 60 year anniversary celebration, we will award our highest honour at an evening reception Monday 22 September in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
On 21 – 23 September 2014, Wetlands International will celebrate its work and achievements over the past 60 years in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. A ‘Wetland Solutions for water, people and nature’ event will exchange ideas on how to increase the impact of wetland solutions. This will be followed by a meeting of the Member Delegates and Board of Association.
Wetlands International invites you to three inspiring workshops on improving water resource and wetland management for more resilient deltas at the conference Deltas in Times of Climate Change II, which will take place in Rotterdam in the Netherlands from 24-26 September.
By Marta Andelman, Wetlands International Argentina -
“The natural flow of water in the Parana Delta is altering,” tells a local farmer. “We know this is caused by the increasing amount of infrastructure for the conversion of the Parana Delta wetlands into soy plantations. There is evidence that as a result, communities are no longer protected during the regular floods that occur in the Delta.” He is eager to find solutions for this problem affecting the region as well as adjacent territories.
We deeply regret to announce that our dear friend and colleague, Andres Kuresoo passed away at his home on 2nd September. Andres was a pivotal figure in waterbird and wetland conservation. He was the Estonian national coordinator of the International Waterbird Census for many years and also a Member Delegate of his country to Wetlands International.
By Susanna Tol
“Yes, we are illiterate sir, but we are engineers as far as our experience with water and rivers is concerned”, says Phushi Mahato, a villager in the Gosi Kandak floodplains in North-Bihar in India.
- INVITATION FOR 1 OCTOBER 2014 -
Currently, drained peatlands for agriculture and forestry are the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gas (GHG) in the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use sector. Join over 120 colleagues working on peatlands and climate change mitigation from all over the world, and enrol now for the webinar 'Challenges and Solutions for Responsible Peatlands Management', organised by FAO, through the web form.
Thanks to an active and laborious fire-fighting operation the recent peat and forest fires in Tver Province were localised and the region was saved from events becoming as dramatic as in 2010 when dense smoke haze covered the city of Moscow for weeks. Still, the region’s economy and ecology again suffered severely from the fires, as well as the climate.
Wetlands International argues that restoration of degraded and abandoned peatlands, is one of the key solutions to avoid often reoccurring dry weather related fire events, and to reduce the release of huge amounts of peat-related carbon emissions.
RSPO members are responsible for 60% of global palm oil production. With such a large and growing responsibility, the RSPO must push on to create a level playing field for sustainable palm oil, argues Marcel Silvius.
On invitation of the Philippine government, the Dutch Risk Reduction (DRR)-team visited Manilla and Tacloban early July to assess the possibilities to protect the coastline in and around Tacloban by creating hard engineering works, planting mangrove trees and reclaiming land. The coordinator of Wetlands International in Philippines was part of this team.
News from http://www.dutchwatersector.com/.
By Paul Brotherton
Despite the long history of abuse, Senegal’s Ndiaël Avifauna Special Reserve remains important, with a huge potential for restoration to benefit both people and nature, and that’s why Wetlands International and our partners have committed to the rewetting of the Reserve for the past five years.
Ten years after the major tsunami hit Aceh, Indonesia in 2004, President Clinton visited the village of Layeun to find out what more can be done to support their recovery. While some areas are recovering, other communities are still on the edge of poverty. During the visit Wetlands International announced a new commitment to support and empower the villagers by restoring the local environment and working with the community to diversify their livelihoods for sustainable income generation. This initiative will build on our Green Coast project that restored coastal ecosystems after the tsunami.
By Paul Brotherton
June is the end of the hot and dry season in Senegal. More auspiciously, it is peak mango season. As I drove north from the capital of Dakar with a team from the Wetlands International Africa office, mango sellers blanketed the roadside selling the best mangoes I’d ever tasted.
Mbarara – On Friday 11 July 2014, Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment made a commitment to work towards the provision of safe and adequate drinking water. The High Level Event, consisting of Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, local organisations, international NGOs and donors, focused on the creation of an action plan to scale-up efforts to provide safe and clean drinking water across the country.
By Telly Kurniasari, Wetlands International Indonesia
The world’s increasing demand for palm oil and pulp wood for paper production attracts the private sector to invest more and more in these businesses in Indonesia and Malaysia. But are banks, the creditors of these businesses, aware of the risks of their investments in palm oil and pulp wood plantations when these are developed on peatlands?
By Sandro Calmanti, ENEA.
Global warming may imply large fluctuations of the impact of droughts in rural areas. Adaptation strategies will likely have to cope with such variable conditions rather than with constant trends.
Today, an international network of more than one hundred twenty organizations on five continents is unveiling a powerful new Global Paper Vision that will unite the myriad of voices currently challenging the paper industry to adopt more sustainable practices.
Brussels. European Union energy ministers decided not to account for the real greenhouse gas emissions caused by biofuels used for transport in the EU. In a political agreement reached today, ministers refused to reflect indirect land-use change (ILUC) in GHG accounting and subsidy schemes for biofuels.
Park Directors from Mauritania, Senegal and Russia signed an agreement committing them to work together for the sustainable management of migratory waterbirds in critical wetlands within the three countries that are connected by the East-Atlantic Flyway. The agreement was the result of Wetlands International’s ‘From the Arctic to Africa’ initiative to protect waterbirds flying between Africa and the Arctic. The signing took place at a flyway exchange programme that brought representatives from Mauritania and Senegal to the Arctic.
By Jan Heinrich, Wetlands International and Hernán de Arriba, ProYungas.
- With the theme ‘Thinking Outside the Box’, the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Round Table (RT9) on Responsible Soy (RTRS) in Brazil from 7-8 May, aimed to capture ideas on how to introduce innovation to the world of responsible soy. Supporting this vibe, ProYungas and Wetlands International presented the Socio-Environmental Observatory on Soy (OSAS), the first database that systematically monitors the expansion and social and environmental impacts of soy in Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.
The Panamanian delegation and Wetlands International call for ecosystem conservation in Disaster Risk Reduction.
The Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas (RP14), held last week in Ecuador, concluded with little attention for one of the root causes of increased disaster risk: Environmental degradation. Ecosystems, such as wetlands, in a healthy state provide many benefits and play a key role in disaster risk reduction (DRR). Nevertheless, they received few mentions during the entire platform of three days, and in the final Communiqué their role is limited as a topic to be addressed in cases of transboundary risk management.
Wetlands should be better managed and restored for their ability to reduce disaster risk, says Wetlands International. To stimulate this, the post-2015 framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (the Hyogo Framework for Action, to be adopted in 2015 in Japan), should pay increased attention to the key role of wetlands to reduce disaster risk and the need for integrated water resources and wetlands management. Wetlands International delivers this call at the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Americas in Guayaquil, Ecuador from 26-29 May.
Zaragoza. Experts from Spain and Portugal discussed how to restore rivers and manage landscapes to reduce flooding risks and impacts. At the same event prizes were awarded to the best short stories, poems and pictures about rivers.
Wetlands are vital storehouses of biodiversity and important bulwarks against the effects of climate change, while also providing livelihoods for millions of people, but they’re being lost at an increasing rate. Geographical Magazine's Mark Rowe reports.
The giant Majnoon Oil field in Southern Iraq overlaps with the country’s most important wetland area, the Mesopotamian Marshlands. Decreasing water availability is a constraint here for both the marshes and the oil industry in this dry country. Despite years of warfare and large-scale drainage, there is suddenly new hope for the marshes thanks to the collaboration of Shell and Wetlands International.
This weekend, people and organisations all over the world will celebrate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The theme this year is “Destination Flyways : Migratory Birds and Tourism”. WMBD was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. Wetlands International is a founding partner in this celebration and we are happy to be joined by an increasing number of partners.
By Marta Andelman, Wetlands International Argentina -
Those consuming tofu and soy milk, but especially meat eaters and those driving a car should keep a critical eye on the impacts of soy cultivation. About 70 percent of soy cultivated is used for animal feed fulfilling the growing meat demands in the world, while the second largest driver of soy expansion is for the use of biodiesel. Whilst recognising these values of soy, its expansion has adverse impacts on important wetlands and forests in South America, and violates land rights. We therefore join many other NGO’s in their efforts to green the soy industry.
A group of experts met in Roosta, Estonia, between the 23rd and the 25th of April 2014 to develop an action plan for the recovery of the Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis).
Strasbourg. Wetlands International and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust welcome today’s adoption by the European Parliament of a new Regulation to address the impacts of invasive alien species on EU biodiversity.
Wetlands International, CARE Nederland, Cordaid, the Netherlands Red Cross, and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said today they were deeply concerned about the increasing risks climate change poses to people, reflected in the latest report by scientists on climate impacts. The agencies welcome the reference to the value of ecosystem-based adaptation.
By Susanne Boom - The grassy hillsides and vast forests around Rwambu wetland in south-western Uganda are not only a beautiful sight to see - it is fertile land which sustains agricultural based livelihoods, such as coffee, tea, bananas and beans. The Rwambu wetland is also a success story of integrated nature-based solutions.
Indonesia plans to restore the eroding areas of its coastline in Java and Bali with nature based approaches inspired on Dutch methods. Also other vulnerable coasts in Indonesia will be looked at. The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), environmental organisation Wetlands International and research institute Deltares last week Friday formally agreed to collaborate in the effort to tackle the erosion problems of Indonesian coasts.
By Bas Tinhout
In Southeast Asia about 25% of plantations are currently on peat and some companies have more than 75% of their plantations on these carbon rich soils. But an increasing number of palm oil and pulp wood producing giants are announcing their commitments to no deforestation and no peatland conversion. What are their real intentions for peatlands?
Yesterday, a week-long exchange visit about integrated coastal management by the government of Indonesia to the Netherlands was formally opened by Wim Kuijken, Deltacommissioner of the Netherlands. Both Wim Kuijken and Mr. Eko Rudianto, Director of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia highlighted ‘Building with Nature’ as an effective approach to sustainable coastal management.
In September 2013, seven European organisations joined forces to create Wetlands International – European Association. This new element of the global Wetlands International network will focus on the development and implementation of EU policy, and on its effects and impacts on global wetlands.
Press release / Press invitation
- 14 March - A high-level delegation from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia (MMAF) will visit the Netherlands from 17 to 21 March to learn how the Dutch have applied ‘Building with Nature’ techniques for flood prevention. The Director General of Marine, Coast and Small Islands, Dr Sudirman Saad, M.Hum, and the advisor of the Minister, Mr Ukay Karyadi joined by five executives, are interested in meeting with Dutch coastal and delta experts, who specialize in the integration of infrastructure, nature and society.
By Femke Tonneijck -
It was an early Saturday morning in Timbul Sloko, at the North Coast of central Java, Indonesia, and not just any Saturday. It was a day of hope. The community gathered together to discuss the rehabilitation of their lost land.
By Taej Mundkur -
I recently got the chance to experience the natural beauty of Djoudj National Park in Senegal for the first time and see its conservation needs. The Djoudj is a paradise for over a million waterbirds and a lot of other biodiversity. It provides an ideal setting for developing sustainable solutions such as tourism that should allow the surrounding villages, visitors and nature to benefit from this natural wonder.
By Szabolcs Nagy and Stephan Flink -
Wetlands International’s team is currently working on the 6th edition of the AEWA Conservation Status Report, which summarises the available knowledge about the size and trends of migratory waterbird populations.
By Szabolcs Nagy
The second stage of the Grand West Asian Wintering Waterbird Survey in Saudi Arabia has covered the Red Sea coast between Jeddah and Jizan. During our survey, we have visited the Southern Cornish of Jeddah, the Shoaybah Al-Mudaylif Coast, the coast near to Al Qunfodah, the Al-Shoqaiq Cost, Ras Altarfa and the southern and northern cornishes of Jizan.
By Paul Brotherton
To celebrate World Wetlands Day 2014, Kenya's Tana River Delta Ramsar Site was officially launched with a public celebration attended by over 500 people.
Nieuw project in de Filippijnen Rode Kruis, Care Nederland en Wetlands International.
De Postcode Loterij stelt een extra bijdrage van meer dan 2 miljoen euro beschikbaar om inwoners van de Filipijnen beter voor te bereiden op natuurrampen. Dat werd gisteravond tijdens het Goed Geld Gala bekend gemaakt. Door tyfoon Haiyan, die eind vorig jaar over de eilandengroep heen raasde, werd opnieuw pijnlijk duidelijk hoe belangrijk dit soort hulp is. Duizenden Filipijnen kwamen om het leven en miljoenen raakten in een klap alles kwijt, hun huis en bron van inkomsten.
The Hague, The Netherlands - With the societal and environmental costs of wetland degradation already huge and growing fast, Wetlands International brought over 100 current and prospective partners and supporters together to explore opportunities for positive action to sustain and restore wetlands in a reception at the atmospheric De Glazen Zaal (Glass Room) in the Hague. The evening featured an interactive marketplace to showcase some of our current initiatives, plus distinguished speakers and interviews with current partners on how our work with different sectors is helping to protect and restore wetlands. In addition to celebrating World Wetlands Day, the event also featured the launch of Wetlands International’s new logo.
By Han Winterwerp
In my previous blogs, we discussed that a healthy mangrove-mud coast is dynamic, and how these dynamics are controlled by the tide and the waves. In a healthy coastal system, these processes, which bring sediment towards the coast and take the sediments away, are more or less balanced.
Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International
When you think of the Sahel in Africa, what picture does it conjure up? Dry sandy areas with scattered trees and perhaps hungry-looking children looking after cattle and goats? Maybe fewer of you imagine big river systems, heaving with fish, and lined with flooded forests? The magic of this zone, which stretches across Africa and borders the Sahara, is that it is both very dry and very wet. And that nature and people depend on both the drylands and wetlands and move in-between according to the seasons.
Today, people and organisations all over the world celebrate World Wetlands Day. The theme this year is “Wetlands & Agriculture: Partners for Growth”. This day was created by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits.
The Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz kicked off on World Wetlands Day to engage nature lovers in freshwater fish conservation. The Freshwater Fish Specialist Group (FFSG), of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Wetlands International, has joined forces with other international groups to introduce this new global initiative.
The recent outbreak of the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza is causing many victims amongst poultry and wild birds in the Republic of Korea. The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds has issued a statement on this outbreak saying that there is currently no evidence that wild birds are the source of this virus. Instead the focus of disease control actions must be on the domestic poultry sector.
A new online Atlas of freshwater biodiversity presenting spatial information and species distribution patterns was launched today. The Atlas is an output of BioFresh, an EU-funded project supported by Wetlands International that is putting together the widely dispersed information about life in our rivers and lakes, to better understand, manage and protect our freshwaters for generations to come.
In the Malaysia Chronicle of 17 January 2014, Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) mentions that there is no credible scientific basis for companies to divest from palm oil plantations on peat soils. The article refers to the announcement of Wilmar about a month ago to undertake "no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation" in their palm oil trades. Wetlands International welcomes Wilmar’s decision and gives a brief recap in this article of the science base.
Brussels. The European Commission’s proposal for a climate and energy package for the period between 2020 and 2030 may throw the door wide open to imports of dirty fuels from tar sands and endanger sustainability criteria for biofuels.
By Szabolcs Nagy
The 5th Conservation Status Report produced by Wetlands International for the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) highlighted that our understanding of the status of wintering waterbirds is the weakest in the West Asian / East African flyway. This is partially a consequence of insufficient capacity in the region. To help tackle the problem we are supporting the development of strategies for countries in the region with the help of the MAVA Foundation.
Ede/Bogor. Wetlands International applauds the Indonesian court ruling which fined palm oil company PT Kallista Alam 114 billion Rupiah (approximately 7 million Euros) for illegally burning peat swamp forests in Tripa/Aceh.
By Szabolcs Nagy
“Migratory waterbirds connecting wetlands and people” is the motto of the Flyway Programme of Wetlands International. This was put into practice during a workshop organised for site managers and local NGO leaders along the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa, held between 14-18 December in the Djoudj National Park, Senegal.
By Bas Tinhout
In the tropics, peat swamp forests are often logged and converted to oil palm and pulp wood plantations. This results in adverse effects on the natural resource base of local communities and impacts the biodiversity, water regulation and carbon storage functions of peatlands. As an alternative, paludiculture is a sustainable form of agriculture which enables the productive use of rewetted peatlands. It will prevent the oxidation of the peat carbon, thus preventing the massive natural organic carbon store from turning into the greenhouse gas CO2.
By Han Winterwerp and Thorsten Balke
If you ever visit a mangrove-mud coast, you will see that the mangroves grow more or less between the waterlines at mean high water and the waterline at the highest tidal level occurring in a year. Understanding the relation between tides and mangroves is therefore essential to rehabilitation efforts.
By Bakary Kone, Wetlands International Mali
The 38 floodplain forests of Mali’s Inner Niger Delta are very important to the economy and livelihoods of the 1.5 million people who live there. They contain much of the natural wealth of the delta and are therefore referred to locally as ‘banks’.