The Source, Annual Review 2020

Staff profile

Staff profile

What is the nicest thing about working at Wetlands International? Through Wetlands International I have been able to find an answer to the fundamental question of what I want to do for wetland conservation and restoration. It took a long time to find out, but I think the best thing is that I now have global values that I would not have found within the industry of just my country. What do you want to achieve in 2021? In contrast to the population growth in much of the world, population decline and demographic change pose new problems for Japan. I believe that the declining birth rate and ageing population will affect social security systems and people’s lives, on top of the serious effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, nature conservation must not become an idealism, and I believe that healthy wetlands need to be part of the social security system. It’s essential to think of a scenario where improving the environment will improve people’s lives, revitalise communities and social activities synergistically. I want to take a step towards these challenges when putting our plans into action for 2021. What is your favourite species and why? A long time ago, I would have always mentioned the tiny goby Rhinogobius ogasawaraensis, which was the subject of my first research. Nowadays, just going to a wetland is exciting, and anything new is fascinating.

teamwork for advising a technically robust legislative text was definitely one of the main highlights of 2020.

What is the nicest thing about working at Wetlands International? I feel proud to be part of an organisation willing to build examples and develop evidence of how things can be done differently. I believe that real transformations begin by exercising dialogue with all actors in society who perceive the need for a change of paradigm and are ready to construct a new path, taking the best of what others have to offer. Wetlands International has that vision and puts a lot of energy, time, knowledge and experience into building bridges with others in hopes of more integrated solutions for the good of nature and society. What do you want to achieve in 2021? In 2021 I want to engage our Programme team in contributing actively to the discussions around wetlands and climate change. While changes in rainfall regimes across South America partially explain the intense fires experienced last year, the drought also made visible what can happen when wetlands are not able to perform their functions and provide essential services such as fire regulation and carbon sequestration. In that direction, we have been working for wetlands to be considered as fundamental ecosystems for climate change adaptation in Argentina’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC. We are aiming for a seat on the Advisory Board of the National Climate Change Inter-Ministerial Cabinet this year. What is your favourite species and why? One of my favourite species is the Tuyuyú, also known as Jabiru (Mycteria americana). This bird species is representative of our call to keep the Paraná-Paraguay Corridor connected and ecologically functional. In the search for the best habitat, the Tuyuyú flies over the more than 3,400 km separating the Pantanal from the Paraná Delta, considering the flood regimes of each of these macro-wetlands.

Gastón Fulquet Regional Programme Coordinator Office: Argentina

Ken-Ichi Yokoi Director Office: Japan

Who is Gastón Fulquet? I am the Regional Coordinator of the Corredor Azul Programme, a long-term programme that aims to safeguard the health and connectivity of the Paraná-Paraguay river system and its iconic wetlands – the Iberá Marshes and the Paraná Delta in Argentina, and the Pantanal in Brazil. Before joining Wetlands International, I worked at the National Ministry of the Environment of Argentina as an advisor for international waters and integrated water management. I also hold a PhD in Social Sciences by FLACSO where I specialised in political ecology and international political economy. What was your biggest personal work achievement in 2020? 2020 was a year full of personal and professional challenges in the context of Covid–19. We also experienced the driest period in over 60 years, with fires all along the Paraná-Paraguay wetland corridor. Within that frame, one of my biggest work achievements was keeping the programme running and the team motivated to continue finding creative ways to get our message across. We learned new ways of working together at a distance, but still brought significant outputs, clear messages, and practical solutions in moments of enormous uncertainty. We went beyond expectations even within this “new normal”. This collective effort, between our technical and advocacy staff, resulted in the inclusion of a National Wetlands Conservation Bill discussion in the Argentinian Parliament towards the end of 2020. Although there is still a lot of work to do in the path towards getting the bill passed, our

Who is Ken-ichi Yokoi? I joined Wetlands International in 2010, where I worked in the Japan office as a researcher until 2015 and now as the Director since 2016. Before joining Wetlands International, I was a fish researcher, carrying out research on the life history, reproductive ecology, and genetic structure of endangered freshwater fish that are endemic to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ogasawara Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Later, I was involved in researching and improving aquaculture techniques for bluefin tuna, eel, and sweet smelt, amongst other species. At Wetlands International, I became involved in the survey of a broader range of wetland species, including plants and algae. I have loved dolphins since I was a child and dreamed of swimming with wild dolphins and whales. As a university student, I will never forget my excitement upon seeing a sperm whale for the first time, and I treasure my youth spent on a tropical island in everlasting summer. That experience was the starting point for what I am doing now. What was your biggest personal work achievement in 2020? The most significant achievement of 2020 was to set out a medium-term roadmap for the Japan office, including the direction of our office and what it should do, based on Strategic Intent 2020-2030.



Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

Wetlands International Annual Review 2020

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