Livestock take advantage of the wetlands, Burkina Faso.
Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

11.10.2018

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Wetlands, which are critical to human and planet life, are disappearing very fast: over 35 per cent of wetlands have been lost since 1970. Many species living in wetlands are declining or threatened with extinction.

Wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests, with severe consequences for our future unless urgent action is taken to ensure their survival, warns a new report by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in September 2018.
 
The Ramsar Convention is a global treaty ratified by 170 countries to protect wetlands and promote their wise use.  Members of the Ramsar Convention will meet from 21-29 October at the Ramsar COP 13 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to discuss the future of global wetlands.
 
According to them, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s wetlands were lost between 1970 and 2015, with annual rates of loss accelerating from 2000. The quality of remaining wetlands is also suffering, due to drainage, pollution, invasive species, unsustainable use, disrupted flow regimes and climate change.

Increasing share of human-made wetlands 

The losses of wetlands have been driven by megatrends such as climate change, population increase, urbanisation - particularly of coastal zones and river deltas, and changing consumption patterns that have all fuelled changes to land and water use and to agriculture.
 
Global inland and coastal wetlands, which include lakes, rivers, marshes and peatlands as well as coastal and marine areas such as estuaries, lagoons, mangroves and coral reefs, are currently estimated to cover over 12.1 million km2.

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