“The wave was higher than the trees. The sea came right over the village. Every building was destroyed, including all 300 houses. About 180 people were killed, more than half the population. The only people who survived were those who ran for the hills.” That’s how they tell it in the cafe at the entrance to Keude Unga on Aceh’s west coast, which took the full brunt of the tsunami.
by Fred Pearce
Layeun is famous among the tsunami villages of Aceh. Bill Clinton came here earlier this year and brought the media. He called for new help to rebuild the lives of the fishing community whose homes disappeared beneath the waves during the tsunami.
By Fred Pearce
Precisely 256 people were living in Gampong Baro on the day the tsunami hit. Just under half of them died. Just 24 bodies were found, while 97 are registered forever “missing”. Their names and ages are all listed on a stone memorial in the heart of the village.
by Fred Pearce
Azhar, leader of Lham Ujong, is a proud man. Proud of the pictures in his album of him shaking hands with dignitaries bringing aid money to the village. Proud of his Olympic torch, which he helped take round Jakarta in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics of 2008 – a privilege he was nominated for by Wetlands International. And proud especially of the trees planted in huge numbers round his village in the aftermath of the tsunami.
Het Nederlandse Rode Kruis, CARE Nederland en Wetlands International lanceren vandaag samen met Nudge de ‘Dijk van een Wijk’-competitie. Dat maakte Sander de Kramer maandag namens de organisaties bekend in het programma Koffietijd op RTL4. De competitie wordt georganiseerd om mensen in Nederland op een leuke manier bewust te maken van hoe zij samen met anderen hun directe leefomgeving op een duurzame manier leefbaarder en veiliger kunnen maken. Mensen met een idee ter verbetering van hun wijk rond de thema’s energie, groen, water of veiligheid, kunnen zich aanmelden op www.dijkvaneenwijk.org. Het winnende wijkteam ontvangt een geldbedrag van €10.000,- voor de uitvoering van hun idee.
The Dutch Soy Coalition (formed by eight development and environmental organisations*) finds that in 2013, only a quarter of the 2.4 metric tons of soy used in the Netherlands is responsibly produced. The social or environmental consequences of the production of the other three quarters of the imported soy, are not at all clear or accounted for. The target of the Netherlands is to purchase 100 percent responsible soy by 2015. This will be almost impossible to achieve now.
Or can we dream of a new world where ecology, economy and society are re-connected?
By Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer
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/.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vienna, Austria – As part of the European River Restoration Conference, five European river basins committed themselves to working together. The river basins include: the Arpa in Armenia, Irpen in Ukraine, Irwell in England, Orbigo in Spain, and Rhone in France. Under the facilitation of the European Centre for River Restoration, the five parties will develop and share their best practices and knowledge in order to stimulate larger scale river restoration.
Vienna, Austria - Over 300 delegates gathered last week for the European River Restoration Conference. Leading policy makers, scientists and restoration practitioners shared experiences, identified the key future challenges and celebrated successes in improving the state of Europe’s rivers. The Rhine River was recognised with the 1st European Riverprize while finalists from more recent river initiatives in central and southern Europe were highly acclaimed. Distinguished keynote speakers including EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik were impressed by the growing body of knowledge and good practice examples that the European Centre of River Restoration and its partners brought together that is essential to support the implementation of many EU policy objectives.
Wetlands International CEO Jane Madgwick is participating in a high-level panel on water cooperation for ecosystems at the International Conference on Water Cooperation in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. As part of the International Year of Water Cooperation, we are attending to highlight the urgent need to safeguard and restore wetland ecosystems as a key strategy to address water security challenges.
Saint Louis, Senegal - Wetlands International is joining forces with the Senegal River Basin Authority to identify the many important services that wetlands provide to people and nature in the Senegal River Basin. In order to meet the growing water needs in the increasingly arid Sahel of West Africa, this partnership will identify how natural ‘green’ infrastructure wetlands including seasonal floodplains, swamps and lakes can be used to support more sustainable livelihoods for people in the four countries of the basin (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal) while adapting to climate change and protecting nature.
March 22, 2013: On World Water Day 2013, water issues are more critical than ever, and affect everyone around the globe. The UN has proclaimed 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation, and Wetlands International is doing its part to promote the role of wetland ecosystems as natural water infrastructure.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Growing recognition that solving the looming water crisis will require innovative thinking and new partnerships brought experts from several sectors to Rotterdam last week. On the eve of World Wetlands Day and with the UN International Year of Water Cooperation as a backdrop, Wetlands International, WBCSD and the City of Rotterdam co-hosted international leaders from business, government and the NGO sector to launch the “Get the solutions flowing” campaign. The campaign will run through 2013 and aims to catalyse an Agenda for Action that turns talk into action on behalf of natural water infrastructure.
Geneva, Switzerland – A new report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), co-authored by Wetlands International, emphasises the enormous economic value of wetlands. TEEB For Water and Wetlands highlights the key role played by wetlands as natural infrastructure and the multitude of enormously productive services they provide around the world. The continued loss of wetlands illustrates the need for improved policy making and business decision making that accounts for their true value.
Ede, the Netherlands - Policy makers, river restoration practitioners and other stakeholders now have a new online tool at their disposal, providing them with hundreds of river restoration case studies. Created by Wetlands International and partners for the promotion of ecological river restoration in Europe, this River WIKI database holds over 300 river restoration case studies from 24 countries in Europe and is found on http://riverwiki.restorerivers.eu.
Ede, the Netherlands - Wetlands International and partners in European river restoration are inviting submissions for the European River Restoration Conference 2013. Join us as we share and learn about the successes, challenges and opportunities for river restoration in Europe. The conference, organised by the European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR) and the RESTORE partners in European river restoration, will feature the 1st European River Prize for excellence in river management, awarded by the International River Foundation.
Brussels, Belgium – Wetlands International welcomes the European Commission’s Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources. The Communication to the Parliament and European Council recognises the benefits of river restoration and green infrastructure to improve the ecological status of Europe’s waters. However, bolder steps are needed to address the increasing threats to Europe’s waters.
Hyderabad, India – The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in Hyderabad, India 8 - 19 October is an important opportunity to improve the linkages between wetlands and water management. On 9 October (13:15 in Room 1.02, Level 1) Wetlands International is hosting an event ‘Wetlands, Water and Aichi Targets’ which will identify mechanisms for the water and wetlands management sectors to cooperate in order to effectively achieve the Aichi Target outcomes, which have high significance for wetlands and water management.
This article "Issues in the Inner Niger Delta: Interview with Bakary Kone, Director of Wetlands International Mali Office" is published in the book 'The Ecosystem Promise' by Meindert Brouwer.
11th meeting of the Ramsar Convention (COP11) 6-13 July 2012 in Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest, Romania - Wetlands International will press for adoption of resolutions at the Ramsar Conference of Parties that call upon countries to take action on some of the most pressing challenges facing wetlands, such as energy production and pesticide use in rice fields. As an International Organisation Partner (IOP) we will also urge for a climate change resolution that commits Contracting Parties to take up the newly available incentives to invest in the protection, restoration and sustainable use of their peatlands, as part of their strategies to address climate change.
Wetlands International expressed its deep concern about the proposed 53km Danube regulation project in Croatia in a letter to Croatia's Minister for Environment and Nature Protection Mirela Holy. The NGO understands that this regulation would have a severe impact upon the unique river landscape and the most highly valued floodplain area and forests of the entire Danube.
Brussels, Belgium - CEO Jane Madgwick of Wetlands International spoke on The Future of Europe’s Waters at a European Parliament Interactive Seminar chaired by MEP Giancarlo Scotta earlier this month. Other speakers included Nicola Natoro (Directorate General Environment, European Commission), Martin Scheele, (Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission) and Antoine Poupard of the French Farmer’s Association. The seminar was sponsored by Wetlands International member organization FACE, the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU.
Mopti, Mali - Communities in Mali’s Inner Niger Delta are facing an emerging drought. At this time of the year the Niger River in West Africa is normally reaching its peak, delivering water for millions of people including the 1.4 million living in Mali’s Inner Niger Delta. This year, water levels are drastically low compared to previous years. Low rainfall may not be the only cause.
Durban, South Africa - Wetlands International will be present at the upcoming climate talks in Durban (28 November – 9 December). This global NGO will show the important role that wetlands can play to adapt to climate change, with specific attention for wetlands in the dry and vulnerable parts of Africa. Wetlands International also continues its call for incentives to conserve and restore carbon-rich wetlands peat soils under a new climate treaty.
Amsterdam - IUCN Dutch committee launches an interactive platform for video stories about the power of nature restoration, called What if we change. Wetlands International is one of the partners in this platform with an innovative nature restoration project in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali.
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.
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 (CBD) - The Niger River is a lifeline for the Sahelian countries of Mali and Niger. Depending on the rainwater in Tropical West African Country of Guinea, the river fills the large Inner Niger Delta; a seasonal flooded area for one million people and millions of migratory waterbirds. A combination of upstream dams and expected climate change impacts may mean a disaster for these biodiversity and human values.
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.
Celebrating World Wetlands Day, today's spotlight is on the importance of wetlands for reducing impacts of climate change. Globally, there is a growing recognition of the key role that the protection and restoration of wetlands like marshes, peatlands, mangroves and coral reefs can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to its impacts. Now, this recognition has to be turned into action.
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.
Global NGO Wetlands International has further expanded its reach and impact on conservation, restoration and sustainable use of wetlands. For the fifth consecutive year it has grown in both financial and operational size. This concludes the newly published Annual Review 2008.
All over the world, conflicts between groups of people are arising due to poor planning of wetlands and their water resources. This concludes the global NGO Wetlands International in its report ‘Planting trees to eat fish’ after investigating many wetland sites in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
2 February, World Wetlands Day. This year’s theme ‘Upstream-Downstream’ highlights how the world’s wetlands are connected to millions of people whose livelihoods, safety and security depend on them for water supply and their capacity to help regulate floods. Climate change will considerably magnify the problems that ongoing degradation of these river basins will bring to nature and people. Increasing the resilience of these wetlands is therefore a fundamental issue that must be part of climate change adaptation strategies.
In the speech on behalf of the International Organising Partners of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 10) in Korea, Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International welcomes the steps to increase the status of Ramsar Sites, especially with regard to Lake Natron in Tanzania, the Tana Delta and Lake Naivasha in Kenya. At the same time, there is disappointment about the little progress in addressing water, climate and development policies with a link to wetlands.
The theme Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People is a central topic at the intergovernmental Ramsar Convention on Wetlands COP 10 (Oct. 28 - Nov. 4) at Changwon, Korea. The publication Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People made by Wetlands International is downloadable right now.
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 is present at the intergovernmental Ramsar Convention on Wetlands COP 10 (Oct. 28 - Nov. 4) at Changwon, Korea. The organisation has clear proposals to improve of the decisions on the agenda for this global summit.
This is the Wetlands International Global Newsletter of Oct./Nov. 2008. It is filled with news on wetlands and climate change, migratory birds, international conferences, research, videos and publications.
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.
Surveys by scientists of Wetlands International Oceania, IUCN Oceania and Paris Museum of Natural History in France confirmed that Samoa has a unique and highly threatened freshwater fauna. At least three new records of fish were recorded for Samoa including one (perhaps 2) potential new species to science.
6 August 2008
A delegation of three Korean NGOs visited Wetlands International’s Headquarters in Wageningen at the end of July. Objective of their visit was to highlight the potential impacts of the Grand Canal Project to be built in Korea.
25-06-2008 Press release
Wetlands International is shocked by the decision of the Kenyan government to convert large tracts of the Tana wetlands in Kenya into sugarcane-for-ethanol plantations. This dramatic development confirms the NGO’s recent outlook ‘Biofuels in Africa’, which shows that biofuel production in Africa will lead to loss of wetlands and rainforest.
No less than 12 countries of the global intergovernmental Convention on Biodiversity (CBD SBSTTA) have yesterday made their recommendations to the Executive Secretary with regard to safeguarding the world’s remaining peatswamp forests. They urged the Executive Secretary to recognize the importance of peatlands, specifically tropical peatlands, in the global carbon cycle and the potential of peatland conservation and sustainable use as a cost-effective tool for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
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