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2 February 2017

Wetlands for disaster risk reduction

Today is the the World Wetlands Day – it is celebrated every year on 2 February since 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, was adopted, drawing attention to the importance of wetlands.

This year’s theme “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” is chosen to raise awareness and to highlight the vital roles of healthy wetlands – acting as natural safeguards against disasters, which makes them important for protecting communities most at risk and vulnerable to the devastating effects of  such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Additionally, healthy wetlands offer us a number of opportunities to help adapt and manage some of the consequences of climate change.

CEEweb believes that true protection of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services can only be ensured if restored hotspots are incorporated into a wider Green Infrastructure network. Our restoration project combined practical restoration in Romania, Slovakia and Estonia, with ensuring that local, site-level action is replicated and scaled up to the regional level. In order to do this, we measured restoration impacts and benefits and communicated them to decision-makers.

Today, wetlands are being destroyed or degraded faster than any other ecosystem. Latest figures show that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last century, and that every year we lose 1% of those remaining. Wetlands are drained or degraded to meet the increasing demands for water and land to cater for agriculture, industry and a growing urban population.

Being motivated with our previous success, we will continue with our efforts in restoring wetlands by supporting local NGOs and other stakeholders across Eastern and South-East Europe to implement restoration projects and to account for the ecosystem services these projects provide for society. With the help of the Technical Assistance Facility for the Danube Region Projects, we have identified 31 follow-up wetland and grassland sites in 13 countries with significant restoration potential.  Learn more about it here.