The Source, Annual Review 2020

Wetlands International South Asia provided livelihood training to enable people new to wetland areas to take up wetland-based agriculture.

livelihoods. And Wetlands International has brought a vital skillset to help them. Its history of engagement with wetland communities, network of contacts and environmental expertise means it has often been the essential intermediary to bring emergency aid to where it is most needed, and to bolster wetlands management to secure the future of the wetlands themselves. From the Saloum delta in Senegal to the lakeside communities of Argentina’s Andean mountains, and villages in the mangrove swamps of coastal Indonesia, Wetlands International has been providing guidance and everything from the masks and antiseptic gel that save lives, to the computers, internet connections and drones that allow cut-off communities to communicate with the outside world and monitor their wetlands. “The pandemic should be a wake-up call,” said CEO Jane Madgwick in April, as the virus spread across the planet. “Now is the time to plan and develop along pathways that promote both social and ecological healing,” to provide resilience for both nature and those who depend on it. The world talks about the need for a “green recovery” from the pandemic. Wetlands International sees it as a blue-green

Alongside the trainings to promote wetland-based agriculture, the team organised emergency responses to support hygiene and health in the wetland communities.

Wetlands International’s teams, headed by South Asia director Ritesh Kumar and with support from humanitarian partners such as Caritas and Seeds India, organised support for the returning migrants and their communities, in landscapes where the partners have ongoing engagements. They provided emergency relief supplies and emotional support. And when the communities were prepared, they provided training courses in how wetlands management can also create local employment to help fill their bellies, while safeguarding the ecology of vital the hydrological “buffers” that provide abundant food and water, and prevent rivers flooding local farmland. The challenges were great, with pandemic restrictions making access to wetland communities especially difficult. But the gains were great too, in helping people suddenly thrown back on wetlands for their survival to appreciate the resources at their disposal, and to share experiences and learn how to manage them better. Similar stories have played out in wetlands around the world during the pandemic. Even where there have been no forced migrations, locked-down communities have been increasingly reliant on their wetlands for food and

While facing new restrictions of the pandemic, drones have helped communities monitor their wetlands from a distance.



Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

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