35 % of wetlands have been lost in the past four decadesSaving the World's Life Support Systems
However much we would like to, there is no way to protect all the world’s wetlands: there will need to be tradeoffs. This will involve hard decisions. Countries will need to prioritize – basing their decisions on the values of their most important wetlands and their potential contribution to commitments under the SDGs, Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Countries need to commit fully to their Ramsar sites – both new and old. Designating a site means more than drawing some lines on a map and giving them a Ramsar number: it’s essential that new and existing sites are protected in practice as well as on paper. WWF believes it is critical to bolster the Ramsar Advisory Missions (RAMs), which help countries identify and address the wetland challenges they face. RAMs need to be strengthened, supported, given adequate resources, and utilized by countries – as well as recommended by NGOs – to help ensure the ecological character of the world’s most important wetlands are maintained so that they continue to deliver benefits to both people and nature.
Innovate and Partner
Along with traditional on-the-ground protection, countries need to adopt and implement innovative approaches to securing wetlands These could include rethinking investments that negatively impact Ramsar sites and seizing the opportunities offered by bankable water solutions to protect our wetlands. Corporate water stewardship also provides an opportunity to explore partnerships and creates a space for the private sector to come on board as a key partner for wetland protection.