Entries for May 2014
At the recent Wetland Solutions Stakeholder Forum in Rotterdam held on 22 September 2014, we interviewed some of our stakeholders on why wetlands are important to them. Here is what they said:
Or can we dream of a new world where ecology, economy and society are re-connected?
By Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer
Great article in Dutch newspaper 'De Volkskrant' about our pilot project in Northern Java where we are using a 'Building with Nature' approach to restore the severely eroded shoreline. This is a problem that occurs along most of the coastline in Java threatening over 30 million people in the long term. The pilot has very promising results as the title also suggests; translated 'mushy porridge turns into solid coast'.
An unprecedented large group of governments, companies, NGOs and indigenous peoples groups called for action to protect and restore the world’s forests. In a declaration launched at this week’s UN climate talks in New York, targets are set to stop deforestation, support sustainable alternatives and restore forests. This should lead to a cut in carbon emissions to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Wetlands International endorses the Forest Declaration to send a message to world leaders to support a climate agreement in Paris in 2016 and take forests and land use into account.
By Jaap van Thiel de Vries, Ecoshape
Last week, I visited Indonesia together with Femke Tonneijck from Wetlands International to meet our partners that are involved in the development of a Building with Nature approach to solve the severe erosion along the muddy Northern coast of Central Java (Demak district).
Rotterdam, the Netherlands – To commemorate 60 years of Wetlands International and its predecessors on Monday 22 September Wetlands International co-hosted a global stakeholder forum at the World Trade Center Rotterdam, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment of the Netherlands. This was followed by an awards reception and a meeting of the Member Delegates and Board of Association.
Wetlands International awarded the Staff Medal of Excellence to two individuals on Monday. Daniel Blanco of Argentina and Ritesh Kumar of India are recognised for special achievement amongst Wetlands International’s global staff.
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.