There is a bilateral relationship between human security and healthy wetlands: the condition of wetlands has an impact on human security and security has an impact on wetlands. Furthermore, there are positive and negative impacts: healthy wetlands are contributing to holding peace through supporting livelihoods and sustainable development and loss of wetlands is contributing to insecurity.
Many areas of growing human insecurity are centred around internationally important wetlands such as the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, Lake Chad, the Sudd and the Hawizeh Marshes. Though degradation of wetlands is not often the most important root cause of human insecurity and conflict, it is a factor that deserves much more attention. Wetland degradation can exacerbate existing tensions in already fragile situations and merits much greater recognition as one of the factors that can aggravate instability.
The side event on wetlands, peace and security at Ramsar COP 13 aims to provide insights into the relationship between wetlands and human security and to accentuate this as an important reason to safeguard and restore wetlands. In addition, the event aspires to discuss possible approaches to ensure wetlands’ contribution to peace. It will also probe into how Ramsar can help confirm that wetlands form a part of the solution instead of contributing to increased human insecurity.
The session will start with a short video and an emphasis on the need to map “wetland security hotspots”. Speakers from Mali, Central African Republic, Iraq and Brazil will elaborate how wetlands, peace and human security interact in a range of fragile situations and how good governance of wetlands can support peace. Then there will be a presentation of draft resolutions on wetlands, peace and security by Senegal, followed by a discussion.
After that, there will be a small debate focusing on the themes that are raised during the session. The meeting will close with reflections from different continents on the issues and solutions raised in the groups, and on their implications for the draft resolution on wetlands, peace and security. The event will be moderated by Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International.