Side event details

GEO Wetlands Initiative : Supporting Global and National Wetlands Inventories with Earth Observations
Day and time
10.11.2022 19:45
Lead organization
Group on Earth Observations
Partner organization(s)
JAXA, ESA, Tour du Valat, AIRCAS, Data Terrra Frenh Researh Infrastructure, AGEOS, WI, soloEO, Earth Research Institute UC Santa Barbara, NASA, USGS, UNEP

Wetlands inventory, monitoring and assessment constitute essential instruments for Ramsar Contracting Parties (CP) in ensuring the wise use of all their wetlands and an effective conservation and management of wetland sites of international importance. However, information on wetland extent, wetland types, ecosystem services and benefits are often scattered, hard to find, and for various reasons difficult to integrate into decision making. National wetlands inventories provide the core information for CP’s assessment and monitoring activities to put in place efficient wetland protection and management policies. Up to date information on wetland status and threats helps CP to decide and prioritize interventions for wetland conservation and restoration. They also allow establishing baselines against which to assess effectiveness of regulatory mechanisms.

Although Earth observations (EO) have been used successfully for wetland inventories and monitoring at various scales, new EO technologies and sensors offer a huge potential in closing existing data gaps. They provide a large variety of essential information on wetlands regarding their extent and temporal variation, boundaries, land use and land use change, topography, hydrology, water height and inundation dynamics, as well as threats, and disaster risks.

The GEO Wetlands initiative leverages the collective capacities of the Earth Observation Community on wetland inventory, assessment and monitoring in an inclusive manner, across GEO and across the wider EO community, to develop globally applicable solutions to wetland inventory, monitoring & assessment, improving the availability and accuracy of global and national EO datasets on wetlands, supporting the development of national capacities, and driving nature-based solutions from wetlands.

GEO Wetlands has 3 primary strategic directions: Support wetlands inventory, assessment and monitoring; Encourage the identification and development of nature-based solutions (NBS) associated with wetland areas; Contribute to capacity development to increase awareness, access to, and use of wetlands data resources.

This side event will focus on the inventory, assessment and monitoring strategy of GEO Wetlands and will address several sub-objectives of that strategy such as listing existing wetlands monitoring programs and available wetlands datasets ; developing a consensus- and compilation-based methodology for global wetlands inventory and defining a training and validation data acquisition approach. Capacity development strategy will be also discussed.

The desired outcome of the side event is to present GEO Wetlands and its future evolution to the Ramsar community, and discuss with the Contracting Parties, the Secretariat, the STRP and CEPA on the utility of GEO -Wetlands for the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan. While the focus of the side-event will be on wetlands inventory, assessment and monitoring, it is recognized that capacity development is critically important to its success, thus will be addressed in the presentations and round table discussion.


The side event will be organized with a series of short keynote presentations and round table discussions with the audience. Participants will learn about the current applications of EO for wetlands, the future developments, and how GEO Wetlands intends to contribute to the implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan and support CP building their national wetland monitoring.