Side event details
In order to better assess wetland status, trends and pressures at broad spatial and temporal scales, and thus to be able to better target the most tailored conservation and restoration measures, it is often crucial to have an inventory of these ecosystems, providing reliable information on their location, delimitation, habitat types, the main services they provide, as well as the threats they face. Indeed, national wetland inventories have always been considered by the Ramsar Convention as a key instrument on which to base national policies for the wise use of these ecosystems, as emphasized in the latest Ramsar STRP report published in 2022 (Ramsar COP14 Doc.12 / Annex 2 - TWA 2). In addition, it is clear that the development and implementation of wetland strategies requires a knowledge baseline on these ecosystems. The lack of consistent data and information at the country level is one of the major constraints to the implementation of effective conservation, valuation and restoration measures.
Georeferenced data and maps, in particular those derived from Earth Observation (EO) technologies, could meet these needs by providing precise, comprehensive, harmonized and low-cost solutions. These approaches have been considerably enhanced since many decades and could offer now the possibility to develop robust and reliable monitoring programs at broad spatial and temporal scales, with relevant products that can effectively support the implementation of wetland management, conservation and restoration policies at local and national levels. In addition, the increasing volume of High and Very High Resolution EO data available in open access, combined with the significant progress made in recent years in terms of processing and analysis of this information, especially with Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, now allow wetland practitioners to consider their systematic integration in the various action plans, derived from national policies and strategies for the management, conservation and restoration of wetland ecosystems.
Therefore, the main objective of this side event would be to present some of these national initiatives aiming to implement EO-based mapping tools in support of wetland inventories, by focusing on existing projects in different countries, in particular in Europe and Africa. Based on these national experiences, the side event will also be the opportunity to discuss how to link these tools and there resulting products with some monitoring indicators related to reporting obligations, such as Ramsar or for the SDG indicator 6.6.1 "Extent and trends of water-related ecosystems". Finally, another important issue the side event will also address is the way in which these national initiatives could support the development of a global wetlands database, particularly with the support of the GEO Wetlands community and the Ramsar STRP. Noting that this side event will be organised in cooperation with the one on the "GEO Wetlands Initiative: Supporting Global and National Wetlands Inventories with Earth Observations".
Introduction: EO-based tools to support Contracting Parties in implementing wetlands strategies and monitoring programs
Example of National Initiatives:
From fields to satellites (France): Three complementary mapping tools to assess wetlands status and trends at the national scale and support inventories
Monitoring Wetlands of International Importance (Algeria): Achievement of a new Atlas on the Ramsar sites
Supporting the implementation of the National Wetlands Strategy (Tunisia): EO-based tools for Wetlands mapping and inventory to feed the SDG Indicator 6.6.1