High-level Roundtable Discussion on “Healthy Wetlands, Resilient Communities”
On 2nd February 2017, a Roundtable Discussion on “Healthy Wetlands, Resilient Communities” celebrated the World Wetlands Day in Geneva. This Roundtable featured the role of wetlands in protecting people and enhancing their resilience to disasters. Drawing from practical examples, the Roundtable discussed how sustainable wetlands management can contribute towards more resilient development. More than 40 representatives from Permanent Missions in Geneva and approximately 150 people attended the event. The discussions described practical examples and challenges of promoting wetlands for disaster risk reduction, the theme of this year’s event.
Organized by UN Environment members of PEDRR – Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction and GEN – Geneva Environment Network, the event included speakers from Governments, civil society, humanitarian and development agencies. Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands highlighted the importance of wetlands for making communities more resilient in extreme weather events, helping to minimize the damage from these hazards. Practical examples in using wetlands for disaster risk reduction were presented by representatives from the Permanent Mission of Philippines to the UN in Geneva and from the Japanese Ministry of Environment. Other experiences and the importance of counting nature as infrastructure were shared by Inger Andersen, the Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Garry Conille, from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), underlined the importance to empower communities and build their resilience through an integrated environmental management approach. The necessity of creating partnerships and engaging all players for disaster risk reduction, including the private sector, was another point raised by Kirsi Madi, Director of UNISDR.
“The issue is starting to be not so much about whether wetlands are needed to reduce risks, but about how we can get an integrated approach to implement this concept.”, concluded Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer at Wetlands International.
The outcomes of the Roundtable will contribute to the 2017 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction, which will be held on 22-26 May in Cancun, Mexico
Find out more at: http://www.worldwetlandsday.org/en