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Stepping up action for wetlands worldwide

Published on:
  • Wetland agriculture and fisheries
  • Wetland values, status and trends

We are releasing Wetland Solutions for People and Nature, our Strategic Intent for 2015 – 2025. Around the world, wetlands are under growing pressure. Implementing this strategy will help prevent and reverse the loss of wetlands and make a significant contribution to sustainable development.

Our strategy sets out the ambitions of Wetlands International in terms of what we aim to achieve– and how and where we plan to go about that work for the next ten years together with our many partners and stakeholders. It provides a common focus and basis for collaboration to safeguard and restore wetlands to benefit people and nature across the globe – from coasts and deltas, to water stores in the mountains, to high carbon peatlands, and in the water-scarce Sahel.

According to Wetlands International CEO Jane Madgwick, “Wetlands need much more attention. Efforts to end poverty and boost local and global economies will go to waste if we don’t start safeguarding and managing wetlands better. It’s not a choice between environmental care and development gains.  Healthy wetlands are part of the bottom line for healthy economies. Action is needed urgently by governments, the private sector and civil society from the Arctic to the tropics. As the global NGO working worldwide, we share knowledge and catalyse positive action for wetlands. We work with hundreds of partners and our work benefits millions of people. With this Strategic Intent as our guide, we aim to inspire others and add momentum to scale up wetland solutions.”

Wetlands matter to people and nature

Wetlands have the greatest value of any ecosystem for human well-being[1] , yet they are the most rapidly degrading. Wetlands are the sources, sinks and purifiers of water. They help protect our shores. They are Earth’s greatest natural carbon stores. They support abundant and unique nature. But we have lost so much of our wetland treasure. And those that remain are under growing pressure. Global losses of wetlands are at least 64% since 1900 and around 87% since 1700.[2] This makes people and nature vulnerable. This Strategy aims to reverse this negative trend.

Five priority Streams to guide our ambitions

To focus our work on the issues and places where wetlands matter the most to people and nature around the world, we have chosen five landscape scale outcomes or “Streams” for our work and developed a vision for each one. These priorities reflect our global and regional analyses of the linked environmental and development challenges, and build on our track record of success to bring about change.

The five Streams are:

  • Healthy Wetland Nature
  • Vibrant Coasts and Deltas
  • Blue Lifelines in the Desert
  • Replenished Water Stores from Mountains to Sea
  • Peatland Treasures Safeguarded and Restored

Strategic Intent 2015-2025


[1] Russi D., ten Brink P., Farmer A., Badura T., Coates D., Förster J., Kumar R. and Davidson N. (2013) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands. IEEP, London and Brussels; Ramsar Secretariat, Gland.

[2] Davidson, N. 2014. How much wetland has the world lost? Long-term and recent trends in global wetland area. Marine and Freshwater Research 65, 934–941.