Side event details

The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands: A Paradigm Shift to Meet Global Challenges
Day and time
07.11.2022 12:15
Lead organization
Society of Wetland Scientists
Partner organization(s)
Wetlands International

The Society of Wetland Scientists and Wetlands International are pleased to offer a Side Event to introduce the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands, articulating eight key rights to which all wetlands are entitled, and which are essential in guaranteeing the continued existence and well-being of wetlands.

This Declaration and recommendations from the Side Event will: enrich discussions on the COP14 theme ‘Wetlands Actions for People and Nature’; inform future implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan (notably paragraph 31 and Target 10); and inform discussions on COP14 Draft Resolutions 18.4 (Review of fourth Strategic Plan of the Convention on Wetlands, additions for the COP14-COP15 period, and key elements for the fifth Strategic Plan), 18.19 (integrating wetland conservation and restoration into national sustainable development strategies), and 18.20 (Protection, management and restoration of wetlands as nature-based solutions [or ecosystem-based approaches] to address the climate crisis).

As recognized in the 2021 IPBES-IPCC Biodiversity & Climate Change Workshop report and 2022 Report of Multiple Values of Nature, climate destabilization and biodiversity loss must be addressed in an integrated manner, building on multiple values and plural worldviews for Nature and Nature’s contribution to people.

Rights and living beingness of Nature have been recognized throughout human history and globally across cultures, particularly by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. In response to global emergencies, a growing, paradigm-shifting global Rights of Nature movement articulates solutions that reframe the human-Nature relationship, shifting it from one of exploitation and depletion to one that embodies a relationship between Nature and humans based on reciprocity and a recognition of inherent rights.

The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands has been endorsed by many organisations and individuals and can be viewed on the Rights of Wetlands website:


The Side Event will include a presentation sharing the Declaration, Rights of Wetlands, and case studies, including the Aotearoa/New Zealand Whanganui River case study; a knowledge exchange with Indigenous Peoples and local community leaders; and a panel discussion with experts from the domains of environmental law, wetland ecology and conservation practice to discuss ways of operationalizing these rights at national and community levels.