“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.
[This article originally appeared at Yale Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.]
The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 obliterated vast areas of Aceh province. But villagers there are using an innovative microcredit scheme to restore mangrove forests and other coastal ecosystems that will serve as a natural barrier against future killer waves and storms.
By Fred Pearce
11 December 2014, Manila - Only one year after the deadly Typhoon Haiyan, which left behind over 6,000 casualties, Typhoon Hagupit has taken at least 20 lives before being downgraded to a tropical depression.
Lima, Peru – IUCN, Conservation International and Wetlands International presented a new guidebook to financing wetland carbon programs and projects during the climate conference in Lima last weekend. It will help project and program developers through the maze of financing mechanisms and options out there.
Much more attention is needed for greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands at the climate negotiations, according to Wetlands International. We will therefore put the spotlights on these carbon rich ecosystems at the Climate Conference in Lima, Peru next week, with the aim to get strong incentives for peatland conservation and restoration in a new climate agreement to be adopted in Paris next year.
Wetlands International is pleased to invite you for an evening reception in the European Parliament on 10 December 2014, hosted by Mr Ricardo Serrão Santos, Member of the European Parliament. The event will bring together Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and practitioners in Disaster Risk Reduction and development.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
What are the next steps for RSPO and its members in relation to palm oil and peatlands? 2013 was an important year with new Principles & Criteria (P&C ) adopted to address ‘peatsoil subsidence’ and ‘greenhouse gases’, both resulting from peatland drainage for palm oil plantations. Now the challenge is to get these P&C’s applied and monitored successfully, and to even go some steps further and turn the RSPO into the frontrunner for the entire sector. Wetlands International participates in the 12th roundtable to raise further awareness on peatlands, particularly on ‘peat soils subsidence’ and to provide input and guidance for next steps for the RSPO and its members.
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.
Study Offers Practical Guidance for Coastal Decision-Makers
Zoological Society of London, United Kingdom, 6 November, 2014: A new guidebook on mangroves as a coastal defence finds that mangroves can reduce risk from a large number of coastal hazards. The role of mangroves in coastal defence has been widely promoted since the tsunami that struck South-East Asia in 2004. Yet, the level of protection provided by mangroves has been subject to debate.
Or can we dream of a new world where ecology, economy and society are re-connected?
By Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
Ministers Meeting at global climate talks in Warsaw should heed the lessons of past disasters.
The following joint statement on the need for increased public adaptation financing was released today by The Nature Conservancy, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International and Wetlands International, at the United Nations global climate change conference now underway in Warsaw, Poland.
Author: Yus Rusila Noor, Wetlands International, Indonesia
Often conservation work starts with individual initiatives. The stories of Haji Madsahi and Babah Akong emphasize the value of local knowledge and initiative for the restoration of coastal ecosystems. They have both received awards for their work and Wetlands International now works with them, so that their efforts can be further scaled up.
Authors: Femke Tonneijck, Wetlands International; Bregje van Wesenbeeck, Deltares; and Mark Spalding, The Nature Conservancy
Inhabitants of low lying delta areas are particularly exposed to flooding and erosion caused by storms and hurricanes. These pressures increase with climate change and sea level rise. Coastal wetlands, such as mangroves, can play a key role in damage mitigation during disasters, as well as in stabilising coastlines. They also contribute to aquaculture and fisheries. Integration of ecosystem-based coastal protection in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction policies and resulting measures to conserve these landscapes are essential if mangroves are to keep protecting us. Full article featured in Outreach Magazine.
India's disaster preparedness has succeeded in dramatically reducing the loss of lives of cyclone Phailin last weekend. While the power of Phailin was a category stronger than the 1999 Odisha cyclone, India timely evacuated nearly a million people from the coastline.
International Day for Disaster Reduction
Today is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2013, a UN event to promote a global culture of disaster risk reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Wetlands International celebrates this day and highlights the critical role wise use and restoration of wetland ecosystems such as mangroves, river basins, marshes, and lakes can play in reducing the impacts of natural hazards like floods, droughts, storm surges and wind waves
Sobé and other villages in the Mali Inner Niger Delta are threatened by the desert's sand. Communities are forced to rebuild their homes every two years to avoid burial by sand dunes, which are moving as a result of degradation of the Savannah.
By Etwin Kuslati, Wetlands International Indonesia
What do you do when your house is slowly being swallowed by the sea???
This is the question that Wetlands International was asked to advise on by the community of Timbul Sloko Village, on the North coast of Central Java, Indonesia.
How to get the attention from the government, private sector, communities and press at the same time for water availability problems downstream the river? In Kenya local indigenous peoples organizations managed to come up with an eye-catching initiative. They organized a Camel Caravan.
The Niger and Nile basins are areas with high water stress and increasing competition for water resources. For that reason these regions are in focus under a large EU-funded project called IMPACT2C which seeks to systematically quantify climate impacts, vulnerabilities, risks and economic costs as well as potential adaptive responses under a global average surface temperature change of 2°C. Wetlands International is one of the partners in this effort and has its focus in the Niger basin.
By Han Winterwerp
In my previous blogs, I have tried to convince you that the erosion of mangrove-mud coasts is directly related to thoughtless land-use. Though the observations are self-evident, we need to understand the underlying physical processes before we can think of mitigating measures. And that is only possible if we understand the behavior of a healthy mangrove-mud coast.
Demak district, Indonesia. This week will see the start of the construction of 2 permeable structures to protect the severely eroding coastline of Timbul Sloko village in Northern Java.
- By Stefan Verschure
I spent 4 months doing fieldwork in Timbul Sloko, a small village in Demak District, on the North coast of Central Java (Indonesia). I was there as part of a Wetlands International project to restore the eroding mud coast of the village through hybrid engineering.
A new report by The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International shows that mangroves can adapt to rising sea levels by building up soils in some locations, allaying fears that mangroves may be lost as sea levels rise. This is important because mangroves provide risk reduction services against coastal hazards such as waves and storm surges.
Opportunities for climate change mitigation through peatland rehabilitation and lessons learned for future agreements under the UNFCCC were discussed at a side event during the Bonn climate negotiations.
At the 4th session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, a green elephant seemed to be standing at the back of the plenary room.
By Vera Coelho
By Han Winterwerp and Bregje van Wesenbeeck
In my first blog, I introduced the term “ecosystem services”, which has become a popular way to refer to the value of ecosystems. This is an important concept as it provides a counter-argument to the often narrow-minded and short-eyed approach of economics.
By Han Winterwerp -
In my previous blog, I have tried to explain the importance of mangrove mud coasts. Of course, these coasts are beautiful, exotic environments, with rare species, such as the mud skipper and numerous crabs, as well as rare birds.
By Han Winterwerp -
I am an engineer. I am a civil engineer and I work with “cohesive sediment”, which is a fancy term for mud. Mud is all over the place, in lakes and rivers, in river mouths (estuaries) and inlets, along the coast and in the deep ocean.
By Azucena Luna Ordóñez
For those who have all the basic services, it may be hard to conceive of the extreme poverty faced by the indigenous K'iche communities. My first experience in the Bio-rights initiative was to visit Chicorral, the most remote and difficult to access community, and smallest with only 20 families.
Ede, the Netherlands - Mangroves can help protect coastal communities by reducing the height and power of waves generated by storms, and by reducing coastal flooding during tropical cyclones, a new report by The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International reveals. Added to other roles in erosion protection and diminishing the power of waves, mangroves can therefore play an important role in coastal defence and disaster risk reduction.
By Marie-Jose Vervest
Along with Yus Rusila Noor of our Indonesia office, I recently participated in the 5th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from 22 – 25 October 2012 as part of the Partners for Resilience consortium. Our participation was a unique opportunity to highlight the importance of healthy ecosystems for resilient livelihoods and the use of ‘natural infrastructure’ as a buffer against extreme events.
Ede, the Netherlands - A new report by The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International proves that mangrove forests protect coastal populations and infrastructure against wind and swell waves. Preventing damage to coastal infrastructure and flooding, mangroves reduce wave height by as much as 66% over 100 metres of forest. With coastal populations vulnerable to the impacts of extreme events such as storms and hurricanes, these organisations say mangrove management needs to be included in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction efforts in coastal areas worldwide.
What would you do if your community was hit by a tsunami? When confronted with disaster, human responses vary: despair, anger, disbelief, sorrow. Planting trees might not be the first thing that comes to mind.
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.
Enormous logs float by while we navigate the Agusan river on Mindanao, the second largest island of the Philippines. A silent testimony of decades of ravaging sawmills and chainsaws that denuded most of the archipelago's once virgin hill slopes. The noisy motor of our boat stirs up a deeply brown-coloured mixture of water and sediment. Two decades ago, local fishermen tell me, the water was clear and readily drinkable.
Bonn, Germany - A team of Wetlands International is present at the UN Climate meeting in Bonn (SBSTA), advocating for wetland conservation in the light of climate change. There we participate in two Side Events and bring our points across in the subsequent Adaptation Fund Board meeting as well.
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.
The major UN climate conference takes place in Cancún, Mexico, where in the coming two weeks (29 November – 11 December) country delegations will negotiate next steps towards a new climate agreement. This may become an important meeting as countries could agree on reducing emissions from deforestation. One other key element on this agenda is to reduce the annual emissions from drained peatlands, in order to address this so far ignored part of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
Nagoya, Japan (CBD) - Wetlands International will hold two press conferences at the conference of the UN Biological Diversity Convention (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan in the morning of Thursday 21st of October, 2010.
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.
Mansoa, Guinea Bissau. Government officials have launched a new mangrove project in Guinea Bissau, which will demonstrate how better management of mangrove forests can help in reducing coastal climate change impacts. The project aims to deliver the knowledge base for the development of national policies in the fight against climate change impacts. NGO Wetlands International, which is leading the project, emphasizes that this project is an example for many coastal areas in Africa and in the rest of the world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 conservation and restoration of ecosystems, in particular wetlands, could be one of the most cost-effective strategies to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Wetlands can reduce the negative effects of sea level rise, extreme weather like heavy rainfall, increased temperatures, severe storms and related phenomena such as melting glaciers, prolonged droughts and increased floods. Today Wetlands International will present facts and its views on adaptation at the CBD in Bonn.
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