The Source, our Annual Review 2019

Drained floodplains and the removal of mangroves make ‘perfect storm’ conditions of peak river flows and high tides

investment to use nature-based solutions to mitigate flood risk in Panama City in Central America. Flooding there caus- es more than 85 per cent of its economic losses due to dis- asters from natural hazards. This is because a construction boom has drained floodplains and marshes, and removed part of the mangroves that once protected the city from the “perfect storm” conditions of peak river flows, tropical storms and high tides. A quarter-million inhabitants are now living in 75 flood-prone neighbourhoods. The worst such neighbourhood is Juan Diaz, where 50,000 people live on a low-lying river floodplain that has been invaded by buildings built on elevated ground, its creeks straightened and drains clogged. When it rains, there is nowhere for the water to go other than to the lowest-lying houses. Solving the problem is complex and involves many parties. Pouring concrete won’t fix it. So we work with architects, the city authorities, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Dutch water experts, to initiate local water dia- logues involving everyone from community groups to uni- versity academics and developers, to seek solutions. The dialogues have drawn up an action plan that includes both restrictions on new development and the revival of wet- lands on the floodplain and upstream. The task now is to ensure that the plan is carried out, through our continued engagement in the city’s needs.

Partners The Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF)

The Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Housing (PU)


EcoShape Witteveen+Bos Deltares Wageningen University & Research UNESCO-IHE TU Delft Von Lieberman Blue Forests Kota Kita Diponegoro University (UNDIP)

What was your most significant personal achievement last year?

Who is Menno de Boer? I grew up in the west of the Netherlands, and I’ve spent a large part of my life surrounded by water. In 2017, I was fortunate in that I started my career in the field as an intern in Guinea-Bissau for Wetlands International. Now, I am a technical officer in the Deltas and Coasts team, working on projects to protect and restore coastal wetlands in Africa.

It would be the acceptance of the second phase of the Mangrove Capital programme. It was, of course, a team effort, but it was one of my main tasks and seeing it being accepted was an honour. What is your favourite species? My favourite species is the Atlantic humpback dolphin. When I worked in the Saloum Delta in Senegal, I came across this rare species, which I had no idea about. Unfor- tunately, there are only a few thousand left due to them getting stuck in fishing nets and noise pollution caused by engines and drilling. This is what makes my work even more relevant. One of my aims this year is for us to improve the management of the Saloum Delta, making sure this species can thrive there.

Donors The Dutch Sustainable Water Fund

What is the nicest thing about working for Wetlands International?

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) Waterloo Foundation Otter Foundation Topconsortia for Knowledge and Innovation

I enjoy working out in the field. When I walk through the mangroves, or across an abandoned rice field, I feel a very close connection to the place and people we’re working so hard to protect. We also get to engage and empower the people living in and around the mangroves, and I think that’s amazing.

For the entire list see Annex



Wetlands Annual Review 2019

Wetlands Annual Review 2019

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