Ramsar Article Highlights Importance of Wetlands to Climate Change Adaptation

31 August 2011: In a paper entitled "The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: 40 Years of Action," Ramsar Secretary General Anada Tièga reflects on progress Ramsar has made as well as areas where attention is still needed. Published for Les Ateliers de la Terre, the article offers an overview of the importance of wetland conservation, climate change and wetlands, interdependencies, impacts of climate change, links between climate change, wetlands and short- and medium-term consequences on agriculture, and the importance of cooperation and partnerships.

Noting that much has been achieved since the Convention was opened for signature 40 years ago, the paper notes that many economists estimate that the ecosystem services provided by wetlands are worth more than US$14 billion per year and that wetlands, like mangroves, provide buffers against tropical storms and hurricanes. Anada Tièga also highlights the role of flood plains which mitigate against torrential rains.

Tièga continues by highlighting that raising awareness of the value of wetlands is necessary for increasing the engagement of wider sectors of society in biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change, noting that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) provided a clear assessment of  the necessity of restoring wetlands as part of efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Finally, Tièga cites a scientific study carried out as part of a joint programme between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Environment Programme, Wetlands International and several non-governmental organizations in Asia, emphasizing links between degradation of peatlands and climate change. [Publication: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands: 40 Years of Action]