A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Saturday, 30 January 2016

World Wetlands Day 2016, February 2nd.

World Wetlands Day, 2 February.
Journée mondiale des zones humides, le 2 Février.
Día Mundial de los Humedales, 2 de febrero.
世界濕地日, 2月2日。
Всемирный день водно-болотных угодий, 2 февраля.
 يوم العالمي للأراضي الرطبة، 2 فبراير.

Theme 2016 : Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods.
Thème 2016 : Les zones humides pour notre avenir: mode de vie durables.
Tema 2016 : Humedales para nuestro futuro: Medios de vida sostenibles.
2016年主題 :  濕地為我們的未來:可持續生計.
Тема 2016 : Водно-болотные угодья для нашего будущего : Устойчивые средства к существованию.
موضوع 2016: الأراضي الرطبة لمستقبلنا. سبل العيش المستدامة.

Every year on 2 February people in many countries come together to celebrate wetlands and their vital importance for the future of our planet.

Wetlands ensure our supply of fresh, drinkable water.  They grow a significant portion of the world’s food supply with fish and rice. Inland, wetlands act as sponges to slow down river flooding and they form coastal barriers against storm surges.  And just one single type of wetland – peatland - stores twice as much carbon as all of the forests in the world.

For World Wetlands Day 2016, there are over 800 events planned at various wetlands around the world to celebrate another benefit of wetlands: Sustainable Livelihoods.
More than a billion people around the world make their living directly from wetlands, doing jobs such as fishing, rice farming or handicrafts. Other sectors such as travel and eco-tourism, water transport and aquaculture all depend on healthy wetlands.
Yet some 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900; many of them converted to agricultural use or urban development.
 This alarming loss means it is urgent to help people understand that preserving wetlands does not have to mean restricting economic growth or depriving people of livelihoods. Quite the opposite!
2016 marks the dawn of a new era. The UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted last September map out the route from the vicious circle of environmental degradation towards a virtuous cycle where we preserve, restore and wisely use ecosystems precisely because they are vital for our prosperity. 
The new Ramsar Strategy 2016-2024 calls for wetland benefits to be featured in strategies and plans relating to key sectors such as water, energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, urban development, infrastructure, industry, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries at the national and local level.
 It also calls for wetland functions, services and benefits to be widely demonstrated and documented.
This is why, for World Wetlands Day 2016, the Ramsar Secretariat has assembled a range of inspiring stories that demonstrate how wetlands can and do provide sustainable livelihoods. You can read these stories.
As always, these support materials are made available with the support of the Danone-Evian Fund for Water, which has sponsored World Wetlands Day since 1997. 
We invite you to visit a wetland, get to know the local communities and how they wisely use this ecosystem. Parties to the Ramsar Convention have designated over 2200 Ramsar Sites of International Importance, protected for the benefits they provide to the country and the world.
To encourage the participation of young people, we are running a photo competition from 2 February to 2 March open to anyone aged 15 to 24 years. You are invited to capture an image showing how “wetlands are essential for sustainable livelihoods,” and upload as many as 3 photos to the World Wetlands Day website. The winner of the photo contest will enjoy a free flight to visit a wetland anywhere in the world, courtesy of Star Alliance.
Happy World Wetlands Day!  Let’s help everyone understand just how vital wetlands are! 
Ania Grobicki Acting

Wetlands are essential for human health and prosperity. They provide us with fresh water, ensure our food supply, sustain biodiversity, protect against flooding, and store carbon dioxide. As a major source of employment globally, they are also ideally placed to showcase truly sustainable livelihoods.

More than a billion livelihoods

Wetlands already sustain a vast range of jobs globally :
  • Almost a billion households in Asia, Africa and the Americas depend on rice growing and processing for their main livelihoods.
  • More than 660 million people rely on fishing and aquaculture for a living; most commercial fish breed or spawn in coastal wetlands, and 40 % of all fish consumed are raised in aquaculture.
  • An estimated half of international tourists seek relaxation in wetland areas, especially coastal zones. The travel and tourism sectors support 266 million jobs, and account for 8.9 % of the world’s employment.
  • Rivers and inland waterways play a vital role in transporting goods and people in many parts of the world. In the Amazon basin, 12 million passengers and 50 million tons of freight are moved each year by41 different shipping companies.
  • Vast networks deliver fresh water and treat wastewater around the world, while employing significant workforces. For example, Bangkok’s Metropolitan Waterworks Authority employs over 5,300 staff. 
  •  The bottled water industry delivered over 70 billion gallons of water worldwide in 2013. Danone sells major brands such as Evian and Volvic, Bonafont and Mizone, and employs more than 37,000 people in its water businesses worldwide.
  • Harvesting and processing plants,fruits, reeds and grasses also provide significant employment directlyin or near wetlands, especially in developing countries

Situation : a vicious circle

Despite all the jobs and other vital benefits that wetlands provide, 64 % of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. The wetlands that still remain are often so degraded that the people who directly rely on wetlands for their living – often the very poor –are driven into even deeper poverty. In addition, by 2025, it is estimated that 35 % of people will directly face declining water supplies. This is the result of a point of view that mistakenly sees wetlands as wasteland.
Solution : a virtuous cycle

Enabling people to make a decent living while ensuring that wetlands will always provide drinkable water, biodiversity, food and their many other benefits, do not have to be conflicting goals. In fact, the new UN Sustainable Development Goals underline that reducing poverty requires us to protect and restore ecosystems such as wetland.


Sustainability unites three key aspects of development to achieve that goal
  1. Economic development: ensuring that people have the ways and means to build their own income and wealth
  2. Social development: improving cooperation, respect and trust between social groups, and promoting gender equality
  3. Environmental protection: conserving and restoring the earth’s ecosystems to benefit both human life and the natural environment

How to create sustainable livelihoods: What are the key ingredients?

Use a people-centred approach to understand needs
  • assess how vulnerable people are to shocks, natural disasters and civil strife, and how to reduce that vulnerability
  •  understand how important seasonal prices and employment opportunities are, and explore other options
  •  take an inventory of the potential resources available
Make multiple kinds of ‘capital’ available
  •  actual products harvested from wetlands such as reeds, fish, rice etc.
  •  skills and knowledge to understand trade-offs and prioritizing good health to be able to earn a living
  •  a voice in planning how local wetlands should be used
  •  basic infrastructure, equipment and tools
  •  credit, cash or micro-loans

Identify who can provide the different kinds of ‘capital’ and make the changes happen
  •  integrate key actors such as governments, institutions, NGOs and local communities
  • determine who will take what role in making the changes

Forum :  World Wetlands Day - February 2

2016 World Wetlands Day theme- Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods
The Ramsar Secretariat announces Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods as the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2016. This theme is selected to demonstrate the vital role of wetlands for the future of humanity and specifically their relevance towards achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Thanks to the financial support from Danone-Evian, the Secretariat is currently preparing outreach material to support country activities organized to celebrate World Wetlands Day and raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity.

Events :  World Wetlands Day 2016 events

World Wetlands Day
WWD 2016 Photo Contest "Wetlands are essential for sustainable livelihoods"

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