A firestorm is sweeping across Tripa’s protected peatswamp forests, endangering the last few hunderd Orangutans remaining in this threatened area. The fires seem a direct result from draining for illegal palm oil expansion into the area. Wetlands International is saddened by the devastation of this forest; the organisation has called for many years for a better conservation of the precious old growth forest.
Presentation of the new facts and forecasts about the impacts of planned dams as well as climate change on the Niger River marshes and the people and nature depending on these.
Ede, The Netherlands, February 16, 2012
Wetlands International is calling on the Netherlands to commit to its international obligations for the depoldering of the Hedwigepolder, part of an important delta in the country. Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, Mr. Bleker, meets Euro commissioner of Environment Janez Potocnik today to discuss this. The delta concerns a vital and unique nature area of international importance that we should safeguard, says the non-profit organization. The depoldering was agreed to compensate environmental damage caused by the deepening of the estuary the Western Scheldt.
See also the Dutch release.
Ede, 15 februari 2012
Wetlands International roept Nederland op haar internationale verplichtingen na te komen voor ontpoldering van de Hedwigepolder. Over dit onderwerp spreekt Staatssecretaris Bleker van Economische Zaken, Landbouw en Innovatie morgen met Eurocommisaris Janez Potocnik van Milieu. De Zeeuwse Delta is een vitaal en uniek natuurgebied van internationaal belang waar we zeer zuinig op moeten zijn, aldus de non-profit organisatie. De ontpoldering is afgesproken ter compensatie van natuurschade veroorzaakt door de verdieping van de Westerschelde.
Netherlands, 2 Feb. 2012. With a well attended event in The Hague, the Netherlands, Wetlands International presented its plans for the coming years. Different speakers showed the effective approach of the organisation as a broker between science, policy and practice; between field level challenges and global trends and solutions and between different sectors and interests.
Welcome on World Wetlands Day! A day to celebrate the role of wetlands in contributing to biodiversity and human well-being. Wetlands International was instrumental in campaigning for and creating the Ramsar Convention and was present in this event in 1971 in Iran when it was formed. The vision and emphasised the crucial role of wetlands in contributing to sustainable development. This is still our message today…but more urgent!
Durban, South Africa, 11 Dec-2011. The Durban Climate Summit has delivered an overall rather meager agreement. A positive outcome has though come forward to reduce emissions from peatlands, both in REDD+ from developing as under the Kyoto Protocol for developed countries. Wetlands International celebrates this result. Peatlands represent 6% of global emissions and until now, no incentive existed under the UNFCCC for reduce these.
Wetlands International is very concerned about the permission for Exxon and Rosneft for oil exploration in the Russian Arctic Sea. The area designated overlaps with two protected natural areas. Officially oil exploration is banned in these areas.
We proudly present our new 10-year Strategic Intent (2011-2020). While our organisation remains grounded within both the conservation and humanitarian sectors, we are broadening our focus on wetland and climate change issues. Also new is our emphasis on the economic sectors driving wetland loss and the potential to utilize some of these for conservation and restoration.
The Annual Review 2010 is out now! Despite the global economic crisis, our Annual Review 2010 shows a healthy and growing organisation. Due to our efforts together with many partners, we achieved a lot in terms of wetland restoration and conservation worldwide.
Wetlands International proudly presents the new chair of the Supervisory council of Wetlands International: Jan Ernst de Groot, who was formerly the Managing Director of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. We welcome him to the Wetlands International family and global network.
Friday, 20 May 2011. Today, a two year moratorium between Norway and Indonesia to freeze Indonesia’s forest and peatland clearing has been agreed. The moratorium blocks new concessions in Indonesia’s peatlands and remaining forests; but also leaves many exemptions.
Washington DC – Drainage and degradation of coastal wetlands emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide directly to the atmosphere and lead to decreased carbon sequestration, a new World Bank report has found.
Wetlands International organised a global symposium, connected to the launch of the 2011-2020 strategic intent. This international symposium offered a unique opportunity to consider a range of national and regional experiences in the management and restoration of wetlands; and to define global priorities in relation to the science, policies and practices of wetland management.
Wetlands International in collaboration with the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Environment Protection Agency is holding an international symposium to discuss the importance of wetlands in a changing climate in Edinburgh on the 24th of February 2011.
February 2, 2011. World Wetlands Day is this year celebrated with the theme “Forests for Water and Wetlands”. Wetlands International marks this day by launching its new initiatives to reverse the loss of the world’s wetland forests such as forested peatlands and mangroves.
An increasing part of Malaysia’s palm oil is produced at the account of huge areas of tropical peatswamp forests. Especially in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, expansion of oil palm plantations may lead to the complete loss of these vast, unique forests by the end of this decade. This is shown by new figures from Wetlands International and Sarvision.
29 October 2010. Wetlands International is relieved by the successful outcome of the Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan. The approved 20 targets for 2020 are an important step to save our global biodiversity, including wetland areas.
Nagoya, Japan - Today, the UN Biological Diversity Convention in Japan has started on its second and last week. The aim to agree on ambitious global targets for the coming decade will be challenging; success is uncertain. The pace of the negotiations is slow.
The thick smog in Moscow is for 80 to 90 percent caused by fires in drained peatlands near Moscow. Despite the relatively small areas where the peat fires occur, these are the fires that cause the massive air pollution in Moscow involving major risks for the health of residents of the region, as well as enormous CO2 emissions. Peat fires are difficult to extinguish and may continue to burn underground for months, even after rainfall like last night.
August 4, 2010. The disastrous forest fires that are currently raging in Russia have led to significant fires in the drained and degraded peatlands. These occur close to Moscow and densely populated areas in Central European Russia. They are causing huge air pollution problems as well as direct risks for the people in the region.
After a long process since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive, the European Commission has now made clear that biofuels produced or imported to the EU cannot be produced at the cost of wetlands, peatlands or forests.
Wetlands International strongly welcomes the suspension by President Obama of oil drilling in the offshore USA territories in the Arctic. The period of suspension is needed for a proper analysis and discussion about the risks of offshore drilling.
The International Day of Biodiversity is Saturday 22 May. 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and the year that the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will conclude that the aims to reduce biodiversity loss have not been achieved. According to Wetlands International, this crisis for biodiversity is directly connected to the global water crisis that is threatening our planet.
Waterbirds in Asia are in trouble. Rapid and poorly-planned human development leading to a lack of adequate official conservation of their important wetland sites are key reasons for their declining numbers. These are the conclusions of the newly published report by Wetlands International, covering over 6,700 wetland sites in 27 Asian countries.
December 19, 2009, 11.00. The COP just agreed on one sentence with a weak text as just an Annex. National short term interests have blocked any step towards solving one of the biggest challenges mankind faces. The momentum is now missing to move towards a low carbon economy and to reduce the loss of carbon rich ecosystems like forests and wetlands.
Copenhagen, Thursday 17 December 2009. If there will be a final and successful climate deal this weak remains unclear; many key issues are still under discussion. The current drafts do provide hope for the wetlands issue, although key elements need to be solved.
Despite slow developments on decisions for appropriate financing for protecting the most vulnerable countries against the impacts of climate change, some positive news can be reported by the Wetlands International team working on Adaptation in Copenhagen. The value of ecosystems for climate change adaptation is now explicitely recognised in the draft text for a new climate deal.
The Indonesian government acknowledges in Copenhagen that forestry and agriculture in peatswamp areas causes extreme carbon emissions, with just very limited economical revenues. Only a rapid development of a financial incentive such as REDD is able to protect and restore the remaining peatswamp forests.
This morning and yesterday; new steps are agreed regarding the texts on the Land Use part of the Kyoto Protocol (LULUCF) and on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries (REDD). Not all these new steps are positive, but they do allow addressing emissions from the loss of wetlands.
Wetlands International is present at the UN Cilmate Summit in Copenhagen. The outcomes of this summit may have a great impact on the future protection and restoration of wetland areas. We offer you direct updates via our website and via Twitter.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meeting this week in Kuala Lumpur has been unable to develop any clear criteria on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This means that there are no credible criteria for sustainable palm oil at this moment. Some hope does exist for the future thanks to the approval of a process to develop better GHG criteria catalysed by the adoption of the resolution from Wetlands International.
Monday, 21 September 2009 - The Indonesian government has come forward with figures that confirm that the country is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses; for 80% due to deforestation and peatland loss. Wetlands International, the NGO that has been advocating the need to address peatland degradation strongly welcomes the acknowledgement by the Indonesian government of the issue.
Climate change is now named as the cause of the severe drought in eastern Africa. While this may be true, poor wetland management, especially unsustainable use of water resources, is the root cause of the totally drying up of normally wet areas. This situation currently threatens millions of people in the region and has already caused mass starvation of cattle and wildlife.
Wetlands International is concerned about the plans of the Russian government to support and allow large scale peat mining for energy. Using peat causes much larger carbon dioxide emissions than fossil fuels, will ruin precious nature and disrupt the hydrology of large areas.
Leading NGO Experts Explain Climate Convention development on REDD and LULUCF:
Where Are We and Where Are We Going? See the webcast.
Experts from the Ecosystem Climate Alliance (ECA), a coalition of leading environmental groups around the world, have established a twitter feed to monitor the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) negotiations in real time at the Bonn climate talks from June 1 – 12, 2009.
A new 3-year project on “Strengthening waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa (WetCap)” is embarking on its first year of implementation as of this month. Within the framework of this project capacity building activities will take place in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania.
The government of Indonesia took a promising step this week by asking World Bank for support in reducing carbon emissions from forest and peatland loss. However, last month, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture issued a decree (Indonesian / English translation) to open up peatswamp areas for the development of palm oil plantations.
Wetlands International signed today the agreement to offset all emissions of flights booked by its headquarters, according to the Gold Standard. The Climate Neutral Group will organise the offsetting programme by investing in alternative energies (wind energy) of an amount equal to the emissions of flying. The ambition of Wetlands International is to expand the compensation to other emissions and other parts of the global organisation as soon as administratively feasible.
The EU Renewable Energy Directive that promotes the use of biofuels, will not recognise feedstocks from carbon rich wetlands as ‘renewables’. It also excludes peat under the ‘renewable energy’ label. This is a significant success, despite the fact that many other precious wetlands and ecosystems are still at risk due to very weak criteria for limiting the impacts of biofuel production on land-use.
The UN climate summit (UN-FCCC) currently taking place in Poznan is crucial for the question whether the huge emissions from degraded peatlands will finally be addressed. Today however, the working group on the methodologies for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) has decided to only deal with above ground biomass, ignoring carbon rich soils. This decision will therewith so far ignore or even worsen the emissions of 2000 Mt/CO2/yr from peatland loss in developing countries.
Huge areas of the world’s peatlands will be opened up for biofuel production if Finland and Sweden succeed in opening up a new loophole in EU legislation.
The UN climate summit in Poznan , Poland (1-12 December) is a key opportunity for addressing the huge greenhouse gas emissions from peatland degradation. A team of Wetlands International attends the summit to advocate policies that will address the loss of the worlds peatlands.
This Tuesday (11th Nov.), the world’s first certified palm oil under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) arrives on European shores. This certified palm oil originates from a plantation which has palm oil grown on peatlands. Wetlands International strongly cautions that palm oil cannot be certified "sustainable" as long as the sector refuses to include a criterion on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from land use change, in particular degradation of tropical peatlands.
Wetlands International advocates chances for the proposed resolutions of this week’s Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Many proposed changes demand attention for the link between wetland loss and climate change and for biofuels.
Wetlands International supports the call of the global company Unilever for a moratorium on deforestation for palm oil. With the call, companies and NGOs dealing with palm oil urge companies to respect this moratorium. The call will also be translated into a resolution for the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (meeting in November 2008).
10 September 2008. Tomorrow, the Industry, Research and EnergyCommittee (ITRE) of the European Parliament will vote about the Renewable Energy Directive. Wetlands International calls for a rejection of the 10% target for biofuel use in 2020.
September 1, 2008.
The UK think tank Policy Exchange has presented the costs of the most important climate measures. Reducing emissions from tropical peatlands is by far the cheapest way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions; using biofuels is by far the most expensive measure.
Influenced by a powerful joint NGO lobby, the Members of the Environmental Committee of European Parliament yesterday voted in favour of stronger sustainability criteria and a lower target for biofuels. The proposed 10% biofuel target for 2020 was reduced to a significant lower 4% in 2015 with criteria for ambitious greenhouse gas savings and exclusion of areas like wetlands with high carbon stocks and/or biodiversity values.
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