Experts Recommend that Wetland Conservation be Included in Next Biodiversity and Climate Change Agreements
According to a new report, wetlands protection should be treated as a separate topic of discussion during the upcoming biodiversity and climate change conferences to achieve effective carbon sequestration. In a new white paper, experts from Wetlands International, a global non-profit, propose five global, science-based conservation measures to protect and restore wetlands.
The recommendations come ahead of the 15th Conference of Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will take place in Nairobi, and the 27th Conference of Parties (CoP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris.
The protection and restoration of wetlands, according to Ritesh Kumar, head of Wetlands International South Asia, is currently unaccounted for in the global environment and climate agreements of the Global Biodiversity Framework, 2002. “It failed to mention 'wetlands’ in the text,” he said.
Wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests, Kumar said: “The wetlands account for just six per cent of the land but are home to 40 per cent of the world’s plants and animals.”
Every year, 200 new species are discovered in freshwater wetlands, which account for over a third of global soil carbon sequestration, according to him.
Kumar believes that the Convention on Biological Diversity should affirm precise targets for these ecosystems to ensure that proactive action is taken to restore and maintain biodiversity.
The focus of the CoP15 negotiations will be on reaching global biodiversity targets that coincide with protecting 30% of land and sea, according to the report.
According to the experts, incorporating wetlands in land and ocean targets fails to recognise the specific and unique qualities of wetlands that connect land and water.
According to Kumar, conventional discussions about landscape conservation centre on limiting deforestation for carbon sequestration. He went on to say that conservation efforts extend to the oceans for the same reason. "However, such talks overlook the particular role of wetlands at the interface between the two in reducing carbon emissions."
According to experts, the event will influence public opinion on a fifth of the world's deteriorated marine, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems.
“I've experienced the devastating impacts of climate change first hand in my home country of Uganda, where we frequently suffer the consequences of too much or too little water, through storms, floods, and droughts,” said Patience Nabukalu, a climate justice activist with Fridays for Future Most Affected People and Areas, Uganda.
Kumar went on to say that while wetlands make up only a small percentage of the world, they are critical components of the ecosystem and are under severe threat.