Side event details
Wetlands serve many ecosystem functions that can be observed from different disciplinary perspectives. Over the years, growing literature on wetlands conservation have discussed the diverse impacts suffered by these ecosystems as well as the potential benefits they can provide.
Wetlands used as cost-effective nature-based solutions can provide environmental and socio-economic benefits to people locally and regionally. Wetlands as Nature-based Solution (NbS) can help in achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) in its 2030 Agenda, by restoring naturally occurring ecosystems through, for example, land and water management. Wetland ecosystems and implemented management plans can positively interact with at least 10 SDGs and 17 targets at different levels.
Wetlands degradation is increasing; they were and still are, largely impacted not only by climate change but also by the expansion of agriculture, other land use activities, and urbanization. Their substantial loss has had significant repercussions on water quality, and quantity. This has caused a serious loss of biodiversity and compromised aquatic ecosystem functioning. Wetlands are often drained to give way to agriculture, and over-abstraction of water resources for irrigation frequently leads them to dry up or become seasonal. In other cases the water is polluted by pesticides and fertilizers. Deforestation leads to erosion and silting up, and the loss of flooded forests.
Wetlands are remarkable ecosystems hosting rich and diverse flora and fauna and they provide a variety of ecosystem services, which benefit human beings. For instance, scientific research has shown that wetlands are known to provide flood control and coastal protection, mitigate droughts, improve water quality, provide habitat for plants and animals, sequester carbon, and deliver food and nutrition for people. Wetlands may significantly contribute to achieving the SDGs as an NbS intervention, however, to do that it is essential to conserve, sustainably manage and restore the functioning of these ecosystems.
The proposed event on Wetlands aims to raise awareness and promote findings from the publications “Transforming agriculture to sustain people and wetlands” and “Wetlands and agriculture: impacts of farming practices and pathways to sustainability“. The event will address wetland's role as a key NbS intervention contributing to food security. In addition, respond to the questions:
- how to best implement/ preserve wetlands?
- what collective actions by multidisciplinary stakeholders are needed?
- how can the latest advances in science and technology help scale up and expand constructed wetlands in their various roles to adapt/mitigate climate change?
- anticipated outcomes of the event are answers to the key questions:
- outline the collective actions for promoting Wetland as NbS
- enhance visibility and awareness to the international community about FAO and Ramsar’s past and ongoing work in various regions.
- provide a multi-disciplinary overview of wetland ecosystems in their relation to agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture especially by showing that these ecosystems can be an important asset for sustainable agricultural production and improve food and nutrition security.