The Source, our Annual Review 2019

FROM OUR CEO Jane Madgwick, CEO, Wetlands International

Given the precipitous decline in wetlands worldwide, highlighted by the 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, a priority for Wetlands International has been to design pathways to upscale our impact: from local habitat improvements to whole landscape transformation, developing local economies based on wetland values. In this annual review, you can find examples of how we are developing data-driven tools and capacities to help steer and mobilise on-ground interventions for impact at scale. You can also gain a sense of how we work in unusual partnerships across sectors to design and mobilise nature-based solutions at scale.

Wetlands International global leadership team came together in The Pantanal, Brazil, for its annual meeting 2019

and coasts, river and lake system and peatlands. I would like to say a huge thank you to those who gave their valuable advice and encouragement in this process. Your continued support and this new framing will help us to focus, to devel- op the organisation and our partnerships, with a renewed common purpose. Many plans were made in 2019 for the anticipated “su- per year” for nature in 2020, intended to drive forward a coherent global agenda to tackle climate change and to re-set global targets for biodiversity. With the post-2020 biodiversity framework in development, we raised the issue of the connectivity of wetlands being confined to protected islands, and advocated for the need for an additional target of restoration of 50% of the loss of wetlands over the last 50 years. Understandably, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need to put the protection of human lives first, these pivot - al processes have been postponed. This raises uncertainty about political commitment and resourcing. But, there are signs of a revival of “listening to the science”. The growing recognition of the need for urgent climate action, and to heal the Earth by restoring ecosystem health, alongside human health is encouraging. We hope that there will now be an awakening to the inter-connectedness of people and nature that will lead to new, joined-up action.

“Nature-based solutions” such as restoring wetlands and forests were given a political boost in 2019, hailed by world leaders as necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make our cities safe. At the Climate Action Summit in New York, hundreds of commitments were made by govern- ments, cities, companies, NGOs and individual champions. However, many were “add-on extras” to traditional infra- structure plans, or over-simplistic approaches such as plant- ing trees, rather than systemic solutions. What’s clear from this is that we have important work to do to mobilise socie- ty around nature-based solutions with healthy, functioning ecosystems at the centre, integrated with mainstream de- velopment and climate action. Our work over the last decades in peatlands, deltas, along coasts, rivers and their floodplains has yielded a mega-store of knowledge, tools and approaches, which can inform up- scaling and replication. This now needs to come to the fore. With this in mind, we contributed to the landmark publica- tion “Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience” by the Global Center on Climate Adaptation and engaged strongly throughout the year advising on its Action Tracks. We announced three significant commitments linked to ambitious partnerships to elevate the role of wetlands in tackling issues of Asian coastal and city protection from

water risks and community resilience, peace and human security in the Sahel (see Blue Lifelines, page 68).

Wetlands International is playing a vital catalytic role in developing clear propositions for future large-scale public and private sector investment. Working as a key member of strategic partnerships like the Global Resilience Partnership, Ecoshape, Global Mangrove Alliance and Global Peatland Initiative, is a promising means to leverage these outcomes. In 2019, as for every five years, we reviewed our Strategic Intent and drafted the basis for a new ten-year direction. We consulted our stakeholders around the globe and held webinars to establish dialogue over the main adjustments needed to meet the emerging trends. Overall, we were encouraged to respond to emerging trends, be ambitious and to influence global agendas to enable more action for wetlands, while staying true to our roots. In November, we brought this all together in an extra-special, annual meeting of our global leadership team, held in the biggest wetland of the world, The Pantanal, Brazil, where we recently estab- lished an office and programme. As a result, our Strategic Intent 2020-2030 presents a re- vised mission and clarity on how we will work to scale up impact for healthy nature, resilient communities and to re- duce climate risks in three main wetland landscapes: deltas

Jane Madgwick, CEO, Wetlands International



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

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