The Source, our Annual Review 2019


Ramsar Partners for Wetlands call for a specific programme on wetland restoration

Who is Michael Succow? I was born in 1941 and grew up on a farm in Brandenburg (East Germany). While studying biology, I became a pas- sionate peatland ecologist and had to witness the drainage of vast mire landscapes in Northeastern Germany in the 1970s/80s. In 1990, I managed to secure almost 10% of German Democratic Republic territory as protected areas, literally in the last moment before Germany’s reunification. For this coup, I was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1997. With the prize I founded the Michael Succow Founda- tion (MSF) for the Protection of Nature in 1999, which means that we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation in 2019. Why did the Michael Succow Foundation become a member? MSF as partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre engages strongly in peatland conservation and restoration, but also in promoting them in policy making. We see the strength of a network like WI-EA to join forces with coordinated action to- wards policy makers in the EU and its’ Member States. Peat- lands are still underrepresented in most of the platforms, we want to change this together with strong allies! What’s been your biggest success in 2019? Hard to say, there were so many peaty highlights in 2019: from discovering new peatlands in Eastern Africa, establish- ing a large cattail plantation for paludiculture, high attention on peatlands at the UNFCCC Climate Summit in Madrid to a

workshop to discuss European peatland strategies with par- ticipants from 11 EU-Member States and beyond. Peatlands are getting out of the niche and receive the recognition they deserve. And last but not least, we celebarated the founda- tion’s 20th anniversary with a big event in Greifswald!

What would you like to see achieved for the post-2020 biodiversity framework?

Mass extinction is reality due to overexploitation of nature, habitat loss and climate change. Conservation and restora- tion, but also more sustainable land use should be top on of the agenda. Peatlands are among the most vulnerable eco- systems with the highest proportion of degradation. Numer- ous species specially adapted to the wet conditions are on the brink of extinction and the carbon storage is dissolved, contributing to accelerated climate change. There is only one message: Peatlands must be wet! What would you like to see Wetlands International and its members achieve in 2020? Bringing wetlands and peatlands even higher on the political and social agenda, especially in this decisive year on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the global biodiversity framework, but also in the EU’s common agricultural policy and the EU Green Deal. Environmental problems don’t fade away in these times of a pandemic but they should become even more prominent as we see how vulnerable we are as human beings. We have to tackle these issues not for the sake of nature, but for our own sake!

dependent animal and plant species have also been affected. Wetland loss also influences our ability to store carbon and support broader climate adaptation.

As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration was declared by the UN General Assembly in 2019, Ramsar International Organisation Partners (IOPs), including Wetlands International, called for a specific programme on Wetland Restoration as part of it. By restoring, conserving, and wisely using our wetlands we can make significant contributions to The Global Goals. The Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight the climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity. Ramsar IOPs highlighted how natural wetlands have declined across inland, coastal and marine habitats, with serious impacts for people on food security, fisheries, water provision for agriculture and domestic needs, and as natural protection from storms and floods. All wetland-

With the call Ramsar IOPs urged governments to give special attention to wetlands.

“We must reverse the decline of natural wetlands, and one key strategy to do that is to restore wetlands and their functions as a key ally to adapt to climate change impacts, and to help store carbon.” The Ramsar IOPs are: BirdLife International The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Wetlands International, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

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