New online courses will boost efforts to safeguard world’s wetlands

Posted on 10 November 2021

Developed by Ramsar Secretariat, Danone and WWF, Bankable Nature Solutions Academy will drive greater public-private partnerships for wetlands
The worsening impacts of climate change – from extreme floods to droughts, storms and sea level rise - are shining an ever-brighter spotlight on the need to protect and restore the health of the world’s wetlands since they are key to adaptation and resilience.
But the reality is that rivers, lakes and wetlands are among the most threatened ecosystems on earth. We’ve lost one third of our wetlands since 1970 and they continue to face a deluge of threats from hydropower dams on free-flowing rivers to overallocation, pollution, over-fishing, unsustainable sand mining, and conversion into farms and towns.
The key to reversing the loss of wetlands is to ensure that decision-makers properly value rivers, lakes and wetlands for all the diverse benefits they provide. And that people and organizations battling to safeguard them have the tools to develop partnerships and secure significant additional support and funding from both public and private sectors.
Which is why the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention, Danone and WWF joined forces to create this unique e-learning course – An Introduction to Financing Mechanisms for Freshwater Conservation and Working with the Private Sector.
“Healthy wetlands are key for human wellbeing and sustainable development. Yet there is a huge funding gap. We need to work with private and financial institutions to find nature conservation projects, that deliver impact for nature, people and the economy. The e-learning course – or Bankable Nature Academy – will help to enhance knowledge and awareness of wetlands and how they can be financed for the benefit of all of us,” said Keiron Brand, WWF NL Green Finance Team, who led the development of the Academy.
This unique, free e-Learning training programme will help to build foundational knowledge of key concepts to enhance public-private sector engagement, which will result in significant benefits for the world’s wetlands.
In particular, the Academy aims to:
  • Promote greater understanding the value of wetlands, how they contribute to economic, social and environment development goals, and the mechanisms under the Ramsar Convention for their conservation;
  • Enhanced awareness of multiple stakeholders and how they interact within a wetland landscapes; and
  • How to create opportunities and develop projects to unlock financing for wetland conservation and wise use such as the Landscape Approach, Payment for Ecosystems or Water Funds.
“We need two revolutions to drive corporate water stewardship - one on education and one on finance. This training is going to help both of them,” said Jehanne Fabre, Global Head Water Stewardship and Sustainable Finance Lead at Danone. “It will help water stewardship leaders to speak the same language and better equip people so that they develop bankable wetlands projects that will hopefully unlock the necessary investment.”
The Academy opens at a critical time. There is a huge funding gap for SDG 6 (water for all) and no way that the gap can ever be filled just with government and philanthropic funding.
There is an urgent need to leverage private financing to help fill the gap but many wetland conservationists do not have the necessary tools, while there has also been a general decline in the extent of activities undertaken by the private sector for the conservation, wise use, and management of Ramsar Sites and wetlands in general.
The courses will hopefully help to transform the situation by providing conservationists with the tools and private sector with the rationale to generate greater investment in wetlands.
“We need unprecedented cross-sectoral collaboration to scale wetlands action towards climate and other goals. This online learning Course is timely and responds to a real need to facilitate public and private sector engagement for wetlands,” said Beom-Sik Yoo, Senior Regional Advisor, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands during the launch event at COP26.
The self-paced Training Programme is available online and includes lessons, case studies and quizzes. Participants who complete the training programme will receive a Certificate of Completion.
The content will be launched today at COP 26 , and there will be detailed session held on 25 November for Ramsar Contracting Parties to introduce the courses and kick off the learning journey.
Introduction to Bankable Nature Solutions Academy
Launch event for the Bankable Nature Solutions Academy during COP26
© Ramsar
One of the courses in the e-learning Bankable Nature Solutions Academy