Rural communities and those on the outskirts of urban areas around the world typically have a close relationship with wetlands. Lakes, floodplains, marshes and rivers are all examples that are typically productive, water rich environments. These are important to local economies and help meet day to day food, water and sanitation needs. They also support community resilience in the face of a changing environment.
Healthy wetlands provide basic necessities and support livelihoods. Wisely using wetlands is essential for delivering water security solutions and sustainable water management. Wetlands provide natural water infrastructure that delivers a wider range of services and benefits than corresponding manmade infrastructure such as dams and dykes.
However, people and businesses also impact wetlands and water. Infrastructure development, over-extraction and the improper disposal of waste can create problems of water scarcity and pollution. Growing demand and competition for human consumption, food and energy production is one of the biggest global challenges – environmental, economic, security – as scarcity increases in the coming years.
The loss and degradation of wetlands is occurring at an alarming rate. The result is communities trapped in poverty, vulnerable to disaster and suffering the consequences of water insecurity including poor health, limited livelihood options and trapped in conflict situations.
We protect, restore and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of sustainable wetlands management at the local level, and influence planning at larger landscape scales.