Why could a Declaration of Rights of Wetlands support wetland wise use?

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Nick Davidson

Publication Date:

We face a recognised global biodiversity crisis. Wetlands are not exempt. In 1971, 50 years ago, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was established by governments because of then increasing concerns over wetland loss and degradation – and its impacts on wetland-dependent species. But since 1970 the area of wetlands has progressively continued to decline, through deliberate drainage and conversion, in all parts of the world. Deterioration in the state of our remaining wetlands is becoming progressively more widespread, including for designated Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). Populations of freshwater species have declined since 1970 far more than species depending on other biomes. For wetlands, the world’s governments have not met their 2020 Aichi Targets for biodiversity. Nor are they on track to deliver the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for wetlands. Yet governments are just continuing “business as usual”: in 2021 they are preparing to adopt yet another set of goals and targets, for 2030 – and the draft targets are very similar to previous targets. Sectoral nature conservation actions and protected area approaches for wetlands have failed to deliver, and will likely continue to fail: the drive for economic growth, rather than truly sustainable development, continues to over-ride achieving wetland wise use. So, we all need to change our mindsets and approaches and develop new paradigms to achieve such wise use. That’s what we are here to explore and discuss in this symposium.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program