Entries for January 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
The International Waterbird Census (IWC), coordinated by Wetlands International, is one of the world's largest and longest-running monitoring programmes. Over the years the census has provided key information to support the conservation of waterbird populations and the habitats upon which they depend. In September 2014, Wetlands International members and stakeholders met to review our recent progress and look ahead for to the future of the programme.
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.
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/.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.