THE SOURCE 2022 - Annual Review - Wetlands International

We are pleased to present the Wetlands International Annual Review 2019. The Source is our digital magazine showcasing the achievements of Wetlands International and its partners in 2019, and aims to bring to life our annual review and accounts with stories, profiles and figures.

THE SOURCE 2022 Annual Review of Wetlands International

What are wetlands? Wetlands occur wherever water meets land – mangroves, peatlands, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains, flooded forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs. Wetlands exist in every country across the world and every type of region – polar, tropical, wet, dry, high and low altitude. Healthy wetlands are key to restoring nature and healing our climate, yet the world has lost up to 65% of its original wetlands. Urgent action is needed to reverse this decline and revive these natural wonders.


Our Vision A world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide.

Our Mission To inspire and mobilise society to safeguard and restore wetlands for people and nature.

Fishermen are fishing in Yamuna river, India

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022








Julio Fernandes






Andrés Fraiz




Paul Mbatia








Heajin Park

Laura Mackenzie









Anteneh Worku








Lilian Nyaega


Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer, Wetlands International

2022 was a significant year for the world’s wetlands and we are starting to see broad recognition and increased investments in wetland conservation and restoration, as a central part of efforts to address the climate and biodiversity crises. Guided by our Strategic Intent, we continued to leverage the benefits of our local presence, technical expertise and partnerships, and connected this with influencing global dialogues, policies, and investments to accelerate the transformation of major wetland landscapes for resilience.

Receiving global recognition through the UN for leading one of the first, best ecological restoration programmes – in the mangrove coast of Demak, Indonesia – is testament to the ability of Wetlands International to design and curate complex, science-based landscape transformations through equally complex local and global partnerships and finance streams. Such initiatives are increasingly becoming global models and sources of inspiration. This example proved that it is possible to turn around even the most severe wetland degradation in just a few years, provided that the plan is based on a sound understanding of the causes and that a systems approach to restoration is taken and driven by all local stakeholders. Throughout 2022, we brought evidence, proposed science- based targets and showcased proven pathways for upscaling action for wetlands to the global policy fora of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the UN Climate Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity - to bring to the fore the role of freshwater and coastal wetlands as the critical water systems linking land and sea. The evident increased emphasis on wetlands - especially peatlands and mangroves - in the dialogues and commitments on climate mitigation and adaptation, and the inclusion of wetlands in the eventual Global Biodiversity Framework for 2030, are together an absolute triumph. Equally, the “Mangrove Breakthrough” that was announced by the UN High Level Climate Champions in 2022 will drive massive investment and mobilisation of state and non-state actors, was inspired and based on data from the Global Mangrove Watch that Wetlands International convened, as well as our work as part of the powerful Global Mangrove Alliance.

Start of the Blue Nile, Ethiopia

This shows the value of bringing together systems of actors to address global challenges – Wetlands International has an excellent track record and platform from which to convene actors in this way. The participation and dialogues in these global fora also pointed to some new opportunities, including the rapidly growing demand to better connect actions for climate and nature. Wetlands can be an excellent entry point for countries, companies, cities and citizens committed to nature and climate positive transitions, by virtue of their central role as carbon sinks, in capturing, storing and regulating water and nutrients and in adaptation to climate change. The report on achievements in 2022, put in the context of our longer-term goals, highlight that progress is not always linear and programmes need to be highly adaptive. We are grateful to be working closely in partnership with major donors who provide a long-term financial commitment to our ambitious goals and give good space for us to innovate in driving towards our ambitions. In addition to our major donors, I am grateful to our members, partners and supporters working tirelessly to safeguard and restore wetlands for people and

nature. We also invested in new staff functions and capacity development across our office network, laying a strong foundation for the work yet to be done. As I write this piece, I recently started my new role as the first Executive Director of the Global Commons Alliance - a growing, science-based coalition that aims to engage and equip companies, countries, cities and citizens so that they become effective stewards of the interconnected systems (water, nature, land, air and ocean) on which life depends upon. There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to avoid dangerous tipping points and instead secure an environmentally safe and socially equitable future for our planet. I believe that Wetlands International and its extensive set of collaborators and supporters, have an important role to play in this urgent transition and I am proud to continue my involvement as a Counsellor of Honour.

Jane Madgwick, CEO, Wetlands International

Thank you for your continued interest and active support.

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022




“Wetlands 4 Resilience”

Defining benchmark conditions for Voluntary Carbon Markets We published a timely report which reflects on the larger debate of using voluntary carbon markets for land-use projects and defines benchmark conditions for channelling carbon finance to wetland interventions. Social-environmental integrity is the all-decisive touchstone for climate and market success. A supply of high-quality credits which are fair, equitable, and accepted by the leading carbon credit verification bodies needs to be secured along with the responsible corporate climate action. Wetlands International has long supported efforts to amplify financing to safeguard and restore wetlands. There is now increasing interest among governments as well as non-state actors in using carbon finance to help innovate and roll out Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in general, and wetland habitats in particular. Private sector funding must be mobilised at scale and at speed, and carbon markets offer a unique opportunity to channel investment into wetlands. We are committed to securing a transparent, equitable, and just carbon market to sustain, safeguard, and restore our precious wetlands.

A new 10-year partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency In December we secured a new partnership with Sida to upscale healthy, biodiverse, and well-managed wetland landscapes globally by 2030. The ten-year ambition is to influence countries, institutions and sectors to shift approaches, policies and investments towards the regeneration of wetland landscapes. This responds to and helps to mobilise and bring substance to the existing global agendas set by Conventions and the SDGs. Specifically, we will fill the current knowledge and capacity gap on how to address wetlands and water resiliency in landscape regeneration processes, by designing and sharing a tested, accessible, step-wise approach. By showing and sharing results from a set of major wetland landscapes in frontrunner countries for wetland commitments, we aim to inspire, mobilise and upscale the global community to drive action forward for wetland recovery and resilience building. Further, we aim to influence the global community to set a conducive environment to facilitate capacity development, policies and investments for wetland landscapes worldwide. This will ultimately bring positive impact for biodiversity and vulnerable communities that depend on healthy wetland landscapes for their well-being and climate resilience. We will focus on large, iconic wetland landscapes and on influencing key processes - changes we would like to see happen - to create suitable conditions for wetland biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to recover, so building resilience at a landscape scale, as a foundation for sustainable development. In the long-term, the programme will benefit tens of millions of people who live in or nearby these large wetland landscapes; vulnerable lakes, rivers and deltas. By enhancing the supply and demand for holistic wetland landscape restoration, we will enable synergies to be realised between biodiversity conservation, healthy ecosystems and human rights, resulting in greater resilience to socio-economic shocks and climate change.

Building with Nature in Indonesia

UN recognises Building with Nature Indonesia with World Restoration Flagship award

The United Nations recognised the Building with Nature Indonesia initiative to protect Indonesia’s coast against flooding as one of its inaugural World Restoration Flagships. The project was selected as one of 10 pioneering efforts to revive the natural world, for its success in restoring mangrove forests to form a natural barrier against the sea, and improving the livelihoods of local communities. The announcement came as leaders gathered in Montreal, Canada for the UN Biodiversity Conference, where governments from around the world agreed to a new set of goals for nature over the next decade. The project was a joint effort between Wetlands International and the Indonesian government, and part of a larger collaboration that aims to advance the application of the Building with Nature approach, integrating Nature-Based Solutions in the design and implementation of water infrastructure practice, to boost the local economy, community resilience and biodiversity enhancement.

Instead of simply planting mangroves, the initiative applied an innovative approach using semi-permeable sea walls made of natural materials to trap mud and sediments. Mangroves then regrow naturally, with a survival rate of 70 percent – significantly higher than the 15-20 percent of planted mangroves. The work will increase the resilience of 70,000 people to impacts of climate change.

Read our report and position on voluntary carbon markets: market-for-safeguarding-and-restoring-our-wetlands/

For more information: nature-indonesias-efforts-with-world-restoration-flagship-award/ indonesia-restoring-an-eroding-coastline-and-inspiring-action-at- scale-2015-2021/



Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Facilitating sharing of best mangrove conservation and restoration practices in Africa Wetlands International facilitated the development of strategic partnerships between the Atlantic Coast and the Western Indian Ocean region to enable collaboration and mainstream best mangrove conservation and restoration practices in Africa. The first of two learning exchanges was held in Senegal in March and the second in Tanzania in October. The exchanges so far have helped to: • Provide a platform for peer-to-peer exchanges around strategies for mangrove conservation, including lessons and best policy practices on mangrove governance, restoration, community engagement, innovation and financing, policy, monitoring impact and community resilience; • Disseminate best practice mangrove restoration approaches and tools, for example to inspire upscaling of Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR), which generally survives and functions better than conventional mass tree planting which fails in approximately 80% of all mangrove restoration initiatives. With EMR a broader set of interventions is implemented that put in place socio-economic and biophysical (hydrological and ecological) enabling conditions for mangrove to grow back naturally. It is essential to create those conditions at scale in order to yield meaningful results across wider landscapes.

From the perspective of

Representatives of the Global Mangrove Alliance receive the Food Planet Prize

Plenary at COP14

Special members, partners and supporters event at Ramsar COP14

Global Mangrove Alliance wins the Food Planet Prize

“Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in recent decades have been insufficient and global temperatures are expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C in the next 20 years unless there are rapid, sustained and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the state of the world’s biodiversity is rapidly deteriorating, with more species than ever threatened with extinction which, together with the increasing impacts of climate change (such as droughts and floods), threatens the livelihoods of all people, especially the most vulnerable. One of the causes of global biodiversity loss is that for centuries the world’s wetlands have been considered unusable, and have been rapidly drained for other purposes. Where wetlands still exist, they play a key role. Both for biodiversity and, as a result, the ecosystem services they provide, and for climate change mitigation. The destruction of wetlands can lead to a net emission of greenhouse gases, but more importantly when the great capacity of wetlands to produce biomass is destroyed, they do not bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Wetlands International is a leading global organisation for wetland conservation through its focus on protecting and restoring these areas that are especially important to the vulnerable and often marginalised communities living in and around them.”

The Global Mangrove Alliance - of which Wetlands International is a founding member - received one of two USD 2 million 2022 Food Planet Prizes, to further work towards our Alliance goal to Halt Loss, Restore Half, and Double Protection of mangroves globally by 2030 and help support on-the- groundwork linked to food security through our National Chapters initiative. The Food Planet Prize awards initiatives that solve the dilemma of feeding a growing world population while saving a planet in peril, with the aim of rapidly scaling up their initiatives. Mangrove deforestation has resulted in a steep decline in mangrove crabs and fish, hurting communities’ ability to sustain themselves and their families. With support from GMA member organisations, communities around the world are taking up mangrove conservation leadership, replanting mangroves, and ensuring that resource harvesting is sustainable. As a result, crabs and fish are returning and mangrove beekeeping and other alternative livelihood programs have arisen in some communities, furthering the benefits community members can receive from the coastal ecosystems.

Wetlands International organised a special event for members, partners and supporters on the sidelines of the Ramsar COP14 in November in Geneva, an opportunity to meet again in-person in an informal setting and to share insights into promising initiatives and collaborations around the world that are scaling up wetland recovery for people and nature. There was widespread recognition of the opportunity to ensure the inclusion of wetlands in the Global Biodiversity Framework to be agreed at CBD COP15 later in the year, through the Resolutions of Ramsar COP14. Speakers and participants also discussed the urgency and need for better collaboration and stronger partnerships on scaling up action for biodiverse, healthy wetlands, and the critical role of Wetlands International in convening such action. With more than 100 people attending from government, civil society, academia and staff from around the network, we heard from André Hoffmann, prominent business leader, champion of wetlands and philanthropist; Jerker Tamelander, Director of Science and Policy of the Ramsar Secretariat; and Guangchun Lei, representative of the Chinese government and Chair of Ramsar STRP.

• Reinforce networks developed in the first phase of the exchanges.

The exchanges brought together participants representing communities, policymakers, civil society organisations, and researchers from 11 countries (Kenya, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and The Gambia). Development Partners from the Swedish International Development Agency’s Africa Regional Office were also involved.

For more information:

For more information: prize/ mangrove-conservation-and-restoration-practice-in-africa/ the-food-planet-prize/



Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Supervisory Council


Miguel Ángel Jorge MEMBER (VICE CHAIR)

Angelique van de Beeten MEMBER (TREASURER)

Jan Ernst de Groot CHAIR (retired Dec 2022)

Jan Ernst de Groot, Chair Miguel Ángel Jorge, Vice-Chair

Adrie Papma MEMBER

Hastings Chikoko MEMBER (retired Dec 2022)

Maggie White MEMBER (retired June 2022)

Kazuaki Hoshino MEMBER (SECRETARY)

Eliot Taylor MEMBER

2022 was overall a very positive year for wetlands with these precious ecosystems achieving high profile attention in a series of global summits, culminating in the inclusion of targets and key language highlighting the critical importance of wetlands and inland waters in the Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted in December under the Convention for Biological Diversity. We would like to recognise the key role played by our staff and our partners who advocated tirelessly for wetlands throughout the year. Nevertheless, this last year brought challenges, too. The world was still confronting Covid at the start of the year. The war in Ukraine meant we paused our activities in Russia, and the energy and cost of living crisis has affected staff, partners, communities and our funders alike. The Council and Board of Association met regularly in 2022, maintaining close relations with the CEO and Management Team through our regular meetings. During our June Council meeting, held in Stirling, Scotland, we were able to see first- hand the critical roles played by peatland in preserving biodiversity, storing water and mitigating climate change. In Scotland, we met representatives of the Government, the ‘National Trust for Scotland’ and engaged companies such as Diageo. The Council visited a peatland restoration site at Flanders Moss where we were guided by ‘Nature Scotland’ staff and saw other sites nearby where restoration is just starting as part of a national programme of action across

In addition to its responsibility to supervise the implementation of the organisation’s strategy, annual accounts and the annual review, the Council provided guidance to the CEO and Management Team on a range of key issues, in particular on a renewed fundraising strategy and on strengthening the organisation’s human resources approach. We were delighted to see that progress was made in our international programmes, and in our organisational capacities and systems, made possible by the support provided by the COmON Foundation, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, and the effective giving platform Effectiv Spenden. Flexible funding is key for the organisation and enables us to take larger steps towards the goals laid out in our Strategic Intent, such as mobilising vehicles for upscaling such as the Mangrove Breakthrough. We also started a new long-term partnership on ‘Wetlands for Resilience’ with the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), which complements our work on the ‘4 Returns’ approach and will make accessible knowledge and tools for wetland landscape restoration to a wide range of collaborators. On behalf of the entire organisation, we would like to thank our partners for their support and trust in Wetlands International. In 2022 we were delighted that Miguel Ángel Jorge accepted the role of Vice Chair. We also said goodbye to two members, Maggie White and Hastings Chikoko, after three years of service. Our thanks go to them for the support and inspiration that they provided.

Scotland to restore 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands by 2030. We were pleased that Wetlands International is supporting this ambition, with knowledge and practical work on the ground. We’d like to thank Hans Schutten (Programme Head Climate Ready Land-use) who facilitated the meetings and visit for the Council.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my return to Wetlands International this past year and was struck by the major progress the organisation has made since 2016. I unfortunately had to resign as Chair in December, due to accepting a new senior role at my company. I would like to wish the remaining members of the Supervisory Council and Board of Association all the best in helping Wetlands International succeed in its mission to inspire and mobilise society to safeguard and restore wetlands for people and nature. I will continue to support from the sidelines.” Jan Ernst de Groot, Chair

Supervisory Council field visit to Flanders Moss, Scotland

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022











Over 2020-2030 Wetlands International aims to safeguard and restore tens of millions of hectares of wetlands, bringing multiple returns for nature and people. Our theory of change encapsulates the three main phases of our work: to inspire, mobilise and upscale. These are the key ingredients of our organisational strategy for the period 2020-2030.

We: - Share insights and knowledge - Encourage innovation - Influence agendas

We: - Enable dialogues - Build coalitions around shared vision - Identify and pilot landscape solutions

We: - Design integrated landscape scale plans - Transform policies and attract investments - Improve standards and behaviours of companies


Healthy Wetlands

Resilient Communities

Reduced Climate Risks

For this period, we are orientating our work to achieve three, interconnected global impacts: healthy wetlands, resilient wetland communities, and reduced climate risks. Our vision, targets and strategic interventions are shaped according to landscapes. We focus on three broad categories of wetland landscapes: Coasts and Deltas, rivers and lakes, and peatlands. “Streams” of work are defined according to the specific contexts of these wetland landscape types. We measure our progress across these three streams according to the following three interconnected global impacts and six outcomes.

Water and food secured for wetland communities

Wetland carbon stores secured and enhanced

Wetland habitats and functions safeguarded and restored

We aim to prevent further wetland loss and degradation that undermines the natural productivity and water storage capacities of peatlands, floodplains, mangrove forests, deltas and lakes. We aim to improve and diversify the livelihoods of people dependent on wetlands, and promote best practices in agriculture and aquaculture, integrating wetland values into the local economy. Reduced societal conflict and displace- ment from wetlands We will in particular strive to resolve situations where deterioration of wetlands - caused by upstream abstraction, climate change or population growth - contributes to loss of livelihoods, human displacement, conflict and migration. Where necessary, we will use peacebuilding and conflict resolution measures to address imbalanced power relations between stakeholders, building capacity for vulnerable and marginalised people to defend their rights to water and wetland resources.

We aim to bring wetlands into activities to adapt to and mitigate climate change, which is otherwise a threat to the integrity of all wetlands. Improving the condition of peatlands, river systems and coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass beds will also reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases and return many to their role as carbon sinks.

We aim to help conserve a selection of the most intact wetland ecosystems and restore others within a full range of wetland types across the world. We also aim to restore other freshwater systems, peatlands, deltas and coastal ecosystems for their intrinsic, cultural and ecosystem-service values. We will prioritise ecological networks that connect landscapes, such as flyways and swim-ways.



Wetland species recovered

Wetland Nature-based Solutions integrated into infrastructure developments


Building on our long track record for waterbird conservation, we will contribute to the conservation of wetland biodiversity by working on selected flagship species and groups of species linked to specific habitats.

We aim to steer urban water infrastructure investment and land use planning towards using wetlands to meet challenges such as water insecurity and flooding that are conventionally addressed by civil engineering - an approach that often causes further loss and deterioration of wetlands.


Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022



climate change and biodiversity loss. The inclusion of wetland targets in the CBD’s Global Biodiversity Framework, resulting from engaging in diverse lobby groups, makes Wetlands International more relevant than ever and provides significant leverage for public and private sector investments in the coming decade. We are proud of the results that were achieved at global, regional, national and local level. Highlights include: Impact Area - Healthy Wetlands • Our influential 2022 State of the World’s Mangroves report that led to the launch of the Mangrove Breakthrough at COP27 aiming to leverage USD 4 billion to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030. • A new 10 year partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency to upscale healthy, biodiverse, and well managed wetland landscapes globally by 2030, contributing to climate resilience and environmental, social and economic sustainability. • A new Ramsar protected Wetland in Argentina, covering an area of 350.000 hectares of valuable peatlands, a key step towards its conservation. Impact Area - Resilient Wetland Communities • We reached 143,000 coastal zone and natural resource management professionals, raising awareness about the contribution of mangroves to food security and opportunities for improving production systems through large-scale mangrove restoration. • We worked with land users to implement better management practices on more than 46,000 hectares of

floodplain habitats under production (largely cattle raising / livestock) in the Paraná Delta in Argentina and the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil. • As a result of our advocacy efforts, the EU is shifting its stance and accepting the significant role that improved peatland protection, increased paludiculture (wet peatland farming) and carbon farming can bring to the Green Deal implementation. Impact Area - Reduced Climate Risks • Our Building with Nature Indonesia initiative was praised by the UN and given the inaugural World Restoration Flagship award. • We enhanced the design of a wetland offset project of a multi-billion investment infrastructure project in Manila Bay, Philippines, such that it will restore thousands of hectares of healthy mangroves while enhancing resilience and livelihoods of local communities. • In the High Andes of Peru, we worked with the herder communities to change their land management practices, resulting in 2,400 hectares of peatlands under improved livestock grazing management offering sustainable income in harmony with nature. Setbacks Not everything went according to plan. The war in Ukraine directly affected our peatland restoration efforts in Russia that were put on hold. The ensuing global energy crises led to higher costs requiring us to deliver the same ambitious impact with fewer resources. Further, the tight and competitive job market is limited our ability to attract the required capacity to deliver our programmes. DUTCH POSTCODE LOTTERY Dutch Postcode Lottery support has enabled us, through targeted seed investments, to build strategic global and regional partnerships to mobilise and upscale the safeguarding and restoration of wetlands. In 2022, highlights include our Building with Nature Indonesia initiative recognised by the UN as one of its inaugural World Restoration Flagships, and successfully influencing the design for a large wetland offset project to compensate for a multi- billion infrastructure project in Manila Bay, Philippines. These results, among others, were made possible through strengthening our fundraising approaches and capacity, developing new donor relationships, investing in staff capabilities in our communications and technical teams, and creating outreach materials and tools to influence government and business.


This chapter presents our 2022 achievements. These are organised along our three streams of work (Coasts and Deltas, Rivers and Lakes, and Peatlands) and in relation to the ambitions laid out in our Strategic Intent 2020-2030.

The section below summarises progress in 2022 towards the 10-year targets.

All of our achievements are the result of our Wetlands International teams working around the world with our many partners in local, national and international networks across the world. The achievements selected below are part of a long- term results framework and build partly on activities already started in previous years.


We highlight those achievements where Wetlands International’s role or contribution has been significant.

On track to exceed target (we will achieve the target before 2030)

Our progress At the end of 2022, we have achieved important results building a solid foundation for future mobilisation and upscaling towards our 2030 targets. Shaping, collating and sharing knowledge, building capacity, developing partnerships with governments and non-state actors to scale up, and securing funding to support our work - are critical to our long- term success and central to our upscaling strategy. Large-scale, partnership-based, long-term wetland landscape initiatives are now underway in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America which will ultimately secure conservation and development benefits for people and nature across millions of hectares. Sometimes the number of hectares we have directly safeguarded and restored so far is relatively small, but designed to trigger landscape-scale impact through the mobilisation of other actors. Where possible we mention the indirect landscape-scale impact we envision. In the last quarter of 2022, we capitalised on global convention meetings (Ramsar COP14, UNFCCC COP27, and CBD COP15) to drive impact by positioning wetlands more than ever as a crucial solution to the intertwined challenges of

Substantial progress, but more time is needed to reach our target We expect to achieve the target by 2030

“Dutch Postcode Lottery funding has had a catalytic effect on our work, enabling us to generate much larger funding, influence and impacts needed to safeguard and restore the world’s wetlands”

So far, there is no significant overall progress

Jane Madgwick, CEO.

The situation is deteriorating and we can’t manage to make improvements

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022



Resilient wetland communities

Prize, which will be used to drive mangrove restoration to enhance food security on the ground.


We advised the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) on strengthening safeguards for mangroves in its certification criteria, providing a basis for enhanced conservation and increased restoration of mangroves in shrimp farms that are or will be under ASC certification. Together with the Global Green Growth Institute, we secured a EUR 16 million contribution from the Government of Canada to bring mangroves back in the Kayan-Sembakung and Mahakam deltas in Indonesia. Ultimately we aim to restore the ecological integrity of at least 300,000 hectares of mangroves and associated ecosystems. Over 22,000 people benefitted from sustainable livelihood activities in mangrove areas in Africa. We provided them with training, materials for alternative income generating activities, improving value chains for their produce, and other measures. For example, our energy-efficient improved cook stoves programme in Matondoni, Kenya has decreased mangrove wood fuel consumption, improved heat retention, and reduced smoke. This initiative has brought tangible improvements to the lives of communities, contributing to a more sustainable and healthier environment. Building with Nature Asia seeks to leverage investment in Nature-Based Solutions to increase the resilience of 30 million vulnerable people in cities and settlements along vulnerable coasts and rivers by 2030 across the continent. Potential implementation projects have been explored in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India to connect the regional platform with national initiatives. We have also developed a resource mobilisation strategy to raise €30-50 million for Building with Nature Asia and secure funding for the next phase of the program within a year. We published a Policy Paper ‘Voluntary Carbon Markets for Wetland Conservation and Restoration’ and used it in public consultations of emerging standards, leading to improved Race2Zero Criteria and High-Quality Blue Carbon Principles. These principles are used by investors such as Mirova and Climate Asset Management that have made significant pledges to invest in ‘natural capital’ including mangroves. Our Asia Times op-ed set the agenda for sustainable developmentin Manila Bay, calling for adherence to international Environmental Social Governance standards and for integration of nature in infrastructure designs. Since, we have helped public and private actors to put in place safeguards for maintaining biodiversity, we ensured community-based participative planning and identified opportunities for infrastructure and urban development that yield a net positive impact for communities. These efforts resulted in uptake of safeguards in the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Masterplan.

By 2030, we aim to integrate wetlands into 8 million hectares of coastal production systems.

Our goal is to safeguard and restore coastal wetland ecosystems as essential features of resilient and productive coastal landscapes. We will achieve our goal by tailoring our work to the different contexts we typically encounter in our target areas,ranging from heavily degraded or modified coastal areas to intact wetland landscapes.

We made major progress towards rehabilitating production landscapes and furthering ongoing dialogues with ASC and others.

We reached 143,000 coastal zone and natural resource management professionals, raising awareness about the contribution of mangroves to food security and opportunities for improving production systems (aquaculture, rice farming) through large-scale mangrove restoration. Building on this success, the GMA was awarded the USD 2 million Food Planet

Healthy wetlands

also led to increased reporting on mangrove status change by Ramsar signatories and actively used by blue carbon investors.

To further promote the use and value of GMW, we organised the first massive open online course attended by thousands of practitioners, as well as the first-ever in-person training for mangrove practitioners from the Western Indian Ocean region. Consequently, mangrove management is now informed by standardised and peer-reviewed global information on near real-time mangrove losses and gains and the drivers thereof. This enables targeted and efficient interventions and improved monitoring. We restored 850 hectares of mangroves using Ecological Mangrove Restoration in Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania, Kenya and Senegal, and mobilised others to restore a further 580 hectares. These cases encourage a paradigm shift from traditionally unsuccessful mass-planting approaches to more inclusive community-based restoration strategies than can be scaled up across coastal landscapes. In Senegal, we helped facilitate the development of a national mangrove management plan to support community-based restoration. We also developed sustainable management plans for coastal landscapes in The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia, working with government, NGOs and community groups. In total these plans cover over 400,000 hectares. We trained wetlands managers across the Yellow Sea on a science-based approach to monitoring and conservation. This will ultimately result in better management of 300,000 hectares of wetland sites critically important for migratory shore birds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Reduced climate risks

By 2030, we aim to safeguard 2 million hectares of high value coastal wetlands, including those sites which

make up vital wildlife migration corridors.

By 2030, we aim to mainstream Building with Nature and promote blue carbon solutions,

We made strong progress towards reaching our target of 2 million hectares. If we secure commitments under the GMA, we will move beyond our target in the next few years .

influencing €10 billion of investments in coastal infrastructure solutions.

Our efforts to mobilise Building with Nature Asia have slowed due to difficulties in recruitment for key roles in resource mobilisation.

Through the Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA) that we co-founded and in collaboration with the UN Climate Change High-level Champions, we launched the Mangrove Breakthrough at UNFCCC COP27. The Breakthrough calls for a unified global approach towards mangrove conservation aiming to leverage USD 4 billion to secure the future of 15 million hectares of mangroves globally by 2030. The Mangrove Breakthrough was informed and inspired by our State of the World’s Mangroves reports, based on data from the Global Mangrove Watch (GMW) platform. The reports and GMW are key elements in our upscaling strategy and have

The UN recognised our Building with Nature Indonesia initiative to protect Indonesia’s coast against flooding as one of 10 inaugural World Restoration Flagships. Building on this flagship example, Wetlands International is promoting uptake of the approach in Indonesia, Philippines, India, Malaysia and China, and other countries over time, in collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, EcoShape and One Architecture.

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022



Resilient wetland communities

Our work with development, economic, and funding partners on sustainable agriculture, reduced water consumption, and integrated planning continues to break new ground, safeguarding precious wetland resources in some of the most fragile environments in the world. We worked with land users to implement better management practices on more than 46,000 hectares of floodplain habitats under production (largely cattle raising / livestock) in the Paraná Delta in Argentina and the Pantanal wetlands in Brazil, while in the High Andes, we encouraged stakeholders to transition to improved livestock grazing on more than 21,000 hectares in the Argentinian Puna, contributing to wetlands and water resources conservation. In Mali and Ethiopia, we piloted technological innovations for reducing the impacts of smallholder farming on wetland landscapes, including through bunding to reduce upstream soil erosion, vermiculture to reduce dependence on expensive chemical fertilisers, re-planting of slopes with indigenous and income-generating tree species, and more efficient use of water in irrigated vegetable production, leading to increased household production, improved incomes and a better environment for farmers. In the Lake Turkana basin in Kenya, we assisted stakeholders in small-scale demonstrations – a start towards larger ambition - to switch to climate-smart farming and resilient livelihood activities, including animal fodder, vegetables and agro- forestry, and sustainable fishing. We focused on building both the proofs of concept and the alliances of partners required to mobilise finance for the widespread deployment of nature-based freshwater solutions. In Sahelian Africa, we organised a Roundtable meeting in Bamako, Mali during which senior executives from 3 river basin authorities, 6 countries and 5 major bilateral donors crafted a declaration recognising wetlands restoration as a force for peace, security and stability in the region coupled with a plan of action. Important as a lever to mobilise government and donor commitment to work in the region, the declaration is an important step to mobilise commitments to wetland restoration and related programming. We continued to build our large-scale Blue Lifelines for a Secure Sahel initiatives with partners, governments, and international organisations, and which aims to mobilise large- scale investment to restore 30 million hectares of wetland and increase the resilience of 20 million people. In the Himalaya in India, we facilitated the economic valuation of key landscape functions to build resilience and secure EUR 5 million investments for Nature-based Solutions for climate change adaptation.


By 2030, we aim to safeguard and restore 60 million hectares of wetlands as integral elements of productive river and lake landscapes.

Our Goal is to catalyse investment to safeguard and restore rivers, lakes and their accompanying wetlands, as part of wider freshwater systems; and to provide water security for people and nature, climate resilience, and sustainable and peaceful landscapes.

While field innovations and partnership development are showing great promise in many regions, the establishment of and investment in mechanisms to drive upscaling are lagging behind our earlier expectations. Programmes to scale our work are in the pipeline and they will accelerate progress.

Healthy wetlands

We prepared integrated management plans for nearly 300 wetlands in sub-basins of the Ganga River in India, covering almost 1.9 million hectares, while preparations were began for possible listing as a Ramsar Site of Ottu Lake in Haryana state. In Argentina, we developed and began implementation of management plans for more than 2 million hectares of wetlands along the Paraná -Paraguay fluvial corridor, covering the world’s largest tropical wetland in the Pantanal, together with Iberá Marshes and the Paraná Delta, while the Paraná Delta Biodiversity Corridor initiative was formally adopted by the Argentina Ministry of Environment. We also completed the management plan of the Pozuelos Biosphere Reserve covering 364,000 hectares in the High Andes. In the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia, we restored over 2,000 hectares of degraded watersheds, lakes and wetland areas, through our integrated landscape restoration interventions, and showcased 1,000 hectares of buffer zones protecting Lake Ziway from impacts from intensive agriculture. Further south in the Omo-Gibe sub-basin, we restored nearly 1,000 hectares of degraded high value wetlands, and started dialogues on water use and on a transboundary ecoregion vision for the area together with stakeholders across the border in Turkana Province (Kenya), where we initiated enhanced rangeland management through the re-seeding with native species benefitting 15,000 stakeholders.

Reduced climate risks

By 2030, we aim to safeguard 10 million hectares of high value river and lake wetlands, focusing on five basins.

Developing and implementing management plans in India and Argentina, coupled with upscaling potential in the Rift Valley, means we are on track in 2022.

By 2030, we aim that €500 million is committed to enable Nature-Based Solutions in freshwater wetlands, for climate mitigation and adaptation.

We secured a new 10 year partnership with the Swedish International Development Agency to upscale healthy, biodiverse, and well managed wetland landscapes globally by 2030, aiming to achieve global influence of countries, institutions and sectors, resulting in shifts in approach, policies and investments towards the regeneration of wetland landscapes.

We saw limited progress in terms of actual impact on the ground in 2022. We expect progress to be exponential over time as we build the foundations for scaling up. We continue to position ourselves and mobilise partners.

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022




Resilient wetland communities

In the High Andes of Peru, we worked with the herder communities to change their land management practices, resulting in 2,400 hectares of peatlands under improved livestock grazing management offering sustainable income in harmony with nature. We clarified barriers and enablers for scaling up wetland restoration and make it a part of the Green Deal transition in Europe. This information helped inform decision-makers and experts engaged in peatland restoration in Europe. As a result of our advocacy efforts, the EU is now shifting its stance and accepting the significant role that improved peatland protection, increased paludiculture (wet peatland farming) and carbon farming can bring to the Green Deal implementation. Including these aspects in the Common Agriculture Policy is key for upscaling since it will drive the largest farm-subsidy stream in Europe and help ensure that peatlands are recognised in the new EU Carbon Farming initiative. Through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, we developed Drainability Assessment training modules and delivered training in East and West Kalimantan (Indonesia) for RSPO members. The training has the potential to influence practices on 4.5 million hectares of plantations under the RSPO scheme. We advocated on the EU’s external trade policy that reduces the import of ‘deforestation’ related commodities, including deforestation for palm oil and pulp plantations. We see this as a major upscaling mechanism which can result in real impact. Playing the role of critical friend on the Board of Responsibly Produced Peat, we pushed to transform the industry from excavating peat for growing media to growing peatmoss and rewetting the underlying peatlands. Financially supported by the Dutch government, RPP is recognised in the Dutch Growing Media Covenant signed in 2022 to phase out extracted peat in the short-term for the domestic market and in medium-term for the professional market while ensuring that all peat used in this transition comes from least environmentally impacting methods. In Brunei, we supported the Biodiversity Action Plan developed for a corporate in rehabilitating degraded wetland areas within the Belait District, one of the last almost intact peat swamps and an important bird area.

By 2030, we aim to enable community based conservation and restoration of 10 million hectares of peatlands.

Our Goal is to scale up the conservation and restoration of peatlands as a contribution to biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development. For this, it is vital to ensure that all remaining undrained peatlands stay intact, while 50 million hectares of drained peatlands are restored by 2050.

While a solid foundation to reach the target by 2030 has been set, influencing EU policy has been slower than expected. The global uptake is also not as quick as anticipated.

Healthy wetlands

Shaping, collating and sharing knowledge to enable others to take action on peatlands is central to our upscaling plan, and we built partnerships such as the EU-funded WaterLANDS and Wet Horizons (EU Horizon 2020). We updated the wetlands and peatlands database for Europe, providing the evidence needed for governments and policymakers to act and track restoration progress. We used such evidence to influence the EU Nature Restoration Law and Carbon Farming regulations under development. The former sets legally binding peatland restoration targets and now includes wetlands outside of protected sites, providing a strong basis for upscaling peatland restoration by farmers and rural communities in Europe. The latter sets the stage for mobilising carbon finance for wetlands. To rewet 500,000 hectares of degraded peatlands in Europe, we facilitated learning and coordinated action across Europe by leading knowledge exchange on peatland restoration carbon standards, bringing together stakeholders form Germany, Poland and Lithuania. Beyond Europe, we stimulated South-South knowledge exchange and learning between Asia and Africa resulting in uptake of best practices on peatland restoration across our network and stakeholders. We supported the Government of Argentina to designate a new Ramsar protected wetland covering an area of 350.000 hectares of valuable peatlands, by developing the Peninsula Mitre’s Ramsar site Information Sheet - a key step towards securing its conservation.

Reduced climate risks

By 2030, we aim to safeguard over 20 million hectares of high value peatlands, including bringing 5 major peatland landscapes back into good ecological condition.

By 2030, we will reduce the impact of peat-based industries in 10 million hectares of peatlands, with a focus on palm oil, pulp and timber.

We have started work in 4 major peatland landscapes – in Peru, Mongolia, Poland and Sweden. We have also focused on building capacity and knowledge sharing, part of our strategy to mobilise towards safeguarding 20 million hectares.

Through the RSPO, we worked to influence and reduce the impact of oil palm plantations (as well as pulp and timber) on vast areas of peatlands. We are on track in 2022 to deliver by 2030.

We developed landscape restoration propositions for Lake Junin in Peru and central valley peatlands in Mongolia. We also developed propositions for the Oder Delta in Poland and Norrbotten in Sweden with our partner Rewilding Europe to test a commercial peatland restoration model based on carbon value. We also explored opportunities to unlock carbon finance for peatland restoration in six other European countries, paving the way for upscaling.

We reduced the climate impact of peat-based industries by influencing commodity chains that produce on peatlands to change practices, such as palm oil, pulp and timber, and by promoting sustainable commodities.

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022

Wetlands International Annual Review 2022



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