Ramsar Convention Highlights “Dramatic Loss” of Global Wetlands as COP 12 Opens
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A Briefing Note released ahead of the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 12) outlines the latest scientific evidence with regard to the continued loss of wetlands globally and asserts that policy makers “have sufficient information to understand the urgent need to take appropriate actions to conserve wetlands and their services to people.”

Ramsar1 June 2015: A Briefing Note released ahead of the 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 12) outlines the latest scientific evidence with regard to the continued loss of wetlands globally and asserts that policy makers “have sufficient information to understand the urgent need to take appropriate actions to conserve wetlands and their services to people.”

Titled ‘State of the World’s Wetlands and their Services to People: A compilation of recent analyses,’ the Briefing Note summarizes key findings from global studies such as the Global Biodiversity Outlook, as well as assessments of trends within regions. It notes that despite the importance of wetlands and the initiatives agreed through the Convention, the studies show an “unmistakable” negative trend of continuing loss and degradation of wetlands in most regions of the world, including in some Ramsar sites. The Briefing Note further highlights economic costs linked to the decline of ecosystem services, which are currently estimated at more than US$20 trillion annually.

The Briefing Note concludes that the data provided “should serve as an urgent call for Contracting Parties to avoid further wetland loss and degradation and to strengthen wetland assessment, monitoring and restoration efforts.”

Discussing key issues to be addressed at COP 12, Ramsar Secretary General Christopher Briggs noted a key priority will be to determine the drivers of the “dramatic loss” of wetlands, “given that 64% of all wetlands have been lost since 1900,” and to reach agreement on the next six-year Strategic Plan, which aims to enhance efforts to “prevent, stop and reverse the degradation and loss of wetlands and use them wisely.” Briggs also highlighted a draft resolution introduced by the Philippines, which he said underscores the important role of coastal wetlands such as mangrove swamps in mitigating natural disasters and combating climate change.

Ramsar COP 12 convenes from 1-9 June 2015, in Punta del Este, Uruguay, under the overall theme of ‘Wetlands for our Future.’ On 1-2 June, the Ramsar Convention Standing Committee and regional groups held preparatory meetings. [Ramsar News Release: COP12 – the hard work has begun] [Ramsar News Release: Healthy Wetlands ‘Critical’ to Sustainable Future] [Ramsar News Release: Preparing for the COP with Ramsar’s Secretary General] [Publication: Ramsar Briefing Note 7 – State of the World’s Wetlands and their Services to People: A compilation of recent analyses] [COP 12 Meeting Website] [IISD RS Coverage of Ramsar COP 12]


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