The Source, Annual Review 2020

Leonard Owuor Agan, Kenya The Marura wetlands in Kenya span an area now charac- terised by agriculture, block making, harvesting, fishing, livestock rearing and irrigation. Locals derive more than 50% of their livelihood from the wetland’s resources. “We hope to inform and inspire people to get the products from the wetland in a way that it can be continuous without total destruction. Many people are not aware of the power of wetlands and how their lives are linked to the health state of it. This is what we hope to change,” says Leonard.

Meet our Wetland Champions María Elisa Sánchez, Canada Born in the second highest capital city in the world, Quito, María has been studying how mountain peatlands, such as the Helen Lake peatland in Banff National Park in Canada, are affected by a shift in winter precipitation due to climate change for the past two years. “They are natural ‘water tow- ers’ because of their ability to collect water and release it slowly through time, but they are disproportionately affect- ed by climate change,” says María. On 19 October, Wetlands International and Youth Engaged in Wetlands co-organised a youth dialogue that brought together 52 young wetland ambassadors, youth represent- atives from organisations including Global Youth Biodiver- sity Network, Youth Water Network, YOUNGO (the Youth Constituency of the UNFCCC), Youth4Nature and Re-Peat. The dialogue featured a representative from the NDC Part- nership on Nature-based Solutions and a representative from Panama’s Climate Change Directorate (on the inclu- sion of wetlands in Panama’s NDCs) and Wetlands Interna- tional on approaches to wetlands in climate action. In the run up to the conferences of UNFCCC (climate) COP26 and the Convention on Biological Diversity (post- 2020 biodiversity framework) COP15, we will use the cam- paign microsite as an advocacy tool and will ramp up the call for signatures and support via our Open Letter.


“As Water Lands makes plain, wetlands are precious beyond any utility we can quantify, beyond carbon storage or biodi- versity improvement.” - Charles Einstein, Author and Speaker “Water Lands directs attention to the much-needed re-orien- tation between rapid economic development and long-term prosperity.” - Ikal Ang’elei, Director, Friends of Lake Turkana Unleashing the #PowerofWetlands On World Youth Day, 12 August 2020, we launched our ongoing digital campaign #PowerofWetlands, focused on raising public awareness of and support for wetlands as Nature-based Solutions to climate and biodiversity action, particularly around their inclusion in Nationally Deter- mined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. Our overarching campaign call is to make the safeguarding and restoration of wetlands a global and national priority. We engaged youth as a key audience in helping drive public awareness and a “whole-of-society” response. Powerofwet- in combination with social media is the bedrock of the campaign, bringing together wetland information resources and stories of young wetland champions in one place. The microsite provides a linkage between social me- dia and Wetlands International’s programme activities, in alliance with partners and youth network groups.

Tanvi Hussain, India Getting the balance right is a major challenge for the In- dian village of Hatimuria, which relies on a wetland called Bherbheri Beel in the state of Assam. Tanvi Hussain, a PhD student and scientist from the region, works on natural re- source conservation with the communities who live around this wetland. “Conservation in a rural context means cre- ating livelihood opportunities for the poor while in urban areas it is about convincing people to be more sensible about their lifestyle,” says Tanvi.

Water Lands: A vision for the world’s wetlands and their people

In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, the spotlight in 2020 was set firmly on the twinned crises of climate and biodiversity, and the choices the world must make to avoid catastrophe. Our landmark book Water Lands , written by journalist Fred Pearce and Wetlands International CEO Jane Madgwick, was released on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2020, and set out a timely call to action for one of the world’s most overlooked ecosystems. As the first-ev- er fully illustrated reportage on the world’s wetlands, the book was very well received in all regions of the world and has served as a comprehensive source of stories to inspire action, from the peat bogs of Ireland to the marshes of the Brazilian Pantanal. “Water Lands is exceptional because it shines a light on the importance of understanding how water systems have shaped nature, cultures and economies.” - David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the United Nations

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Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

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