The Convention on Wetlands released the Global Wetland Outlook Special Edition: 2021.
As an update to the 2018 Global Wetland Outlook, this special edition on the occurrence of the Convention’s 50th anniversary presents new findings on the status and value of wetlands globally, particularly in the context of the global pandemic, climate and biodiversity crises and broader global shifts.
Some of the key messages from the special edition include:
Land-use change is the biggest driver of degradation to inland wetlands since 1970. Agriculture, the most wide-spread form of land-use change, has damaged more than half of Wetlands of International Importance. With sustainable food production dependent on wetlands, transforming agriculture to reverse this trend is urgent.
Wetland degradation puts human lives and livelihoods at risk. Poor management of wetlands has increased rates of water scarcity and water-borne diseases, contributing to millions of deaths every year.
Protection, wise-use and restoration of wetlands works. The ecological character of Designated Wetlands of International Importance under the Convention are more often reported in ‘good’ rather than ‘bad’ condition. Improvement in wetlands’ ecological character is linked to the implementation of the Convention on Wetlands’ strategic plan: to protect, use wisely and restore.
Improving management of wetlands brings health, food and water security benefits – critical to the health and livelihoods of 4 billion people globally who are reliant on wetlands’ services. The global value of wetland ecosystem services for human health, wellbeing and security is estimated to be $47.4 trillion a year.
Wetlands are our most effective land-based ecosystem for capturing carbon. Coastal wetlands such as mangroves sequester carbon up to 55 times faster than tropical rainforests. While peatlands which cover only 3% of the earth’s land surface store 30% of all land-based carbon. To meet the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement climate goals, we must protect and restore 50% of all lost peatlands before 2030.
You can view the report and an summary of the report here.