Wetlands are often referred to as ‘the world’s kidneys’ because they purify and slow the flow of water to the sea, helping to control floods and water pollution. But our world is experiencing kidney failure. According to UN Water, half of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1900. Those that are protected tend to be designated as ‘nature sanctuaries,’ rather than resources that can be used sustainably by communities.
However, wetlands are important ecosystems for people. More than 3 billion (around half the world’s population) obtain their basic water needs from inland freshwater wetlands. These ecosystems also help reduce the damaging impact of floods, control pollution and regulate the climate. They provide fresh water, food and a range of ecosystem services, as well as a source of income, contributing to the livelihoods and well-being of millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
But wetland management is challenging: decision-makers must balance the need to conserve wetlands – and the wide range of services they provide – with the changing needs of the people who use and depend on them.Research from IWMI and its partners highlights the benefits and services that wetlands provide in Africa, Asia and Latin America and their role in poverty reduction, agriculture and livelihoods.
IWMI is an official International Organization Partner of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
WISE-UP to Climate
IWMI is a partner in the Water Infrastructure Solutions from Ecosystem Services Underpinning Climate Resilient Policies and Programmes project, known as WISE-UP.
Ecosystem services, such as those provided by wetlands, need to be linked more directly into water infrastructure development. WISE-UP aims to demonstrate the application of natural infrastructure as a ‘nature-based solution’ for climate change adaptation and sustainable development in the Tana (Kenya) and Volta (Ghana-Burkina Faso) River Basins.
Combining Built and Natural Infrastructure
The project will generate new knowledge and innovative tools to optimize built and natural infrastructure and pilot their application by decision-makers and stakeholders, setting investment strategies for water infrastructure and dialogue over water resource management.
WISE-UP will run over a four-year period (2013-2017).
- Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana (CSIR)
- African Collaborative Center for Earth System Sciences(ACCESS) – University of Nairobi
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
- University of Manchester
- Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3)
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
For more information contact Matthew McCartney