Following, the 13th Conference of Parties of the Ramsar Convention (COP13), the members have called for wetland conservation to be embedded in the post-2020 biodiversity and sustainable development agendas.
“Since 1970, 35 per cent of wetlands have been lost, three times the rate of forest loss, and 81 per cent of inland wetland species populations and 36 per cent of coastal and marine species have declined.” These stark reminders from the Global Wetland Outlook (GWO), noted by both Ramsar Secretary General Martha Rojas Urrego and the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) chair Royal Gardner defined the tone of COP13.
As an outcome from COP13, the parties have called for wetland conservation to be embedded in United Nations targets on biodiversity. “As we start to develop the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, we have the opportunity to align the targets of the biodiversity-related conventions with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said the COP in a statement.
COP13 noted that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is unlikely to meet its Aichi Targets to protect ecosystems and their biodiversity. As such, COP13 wishes to further align and integrate its goals and targets for wetland conservation with the work of other intergovernmental agencies.
“Driven by the recognition of the failure of wetland conservation to adequately address the catastrophic loss of wetland biodiversity, we urge Parties to both Ramsar and the CBD to recognise the importance of Ramsar not just for conserving wetland habitats but for being instrumental in ensuring water security.”
Future efforts to enshrine wetland protection will be driven by the information collected and published in the GWO, which COP13 was nearly unanimous in defining as the most important outcome of recent collective efforts of the members. Related, the organization’s adoption of revised guidelines for identifying and designating peatlands to the Ramsar List was noted as helping achieve goals with respect to climate change mitigation.
COP13 committed to moving wetland conservation forward and enshrining protections in biodiversity measures at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, November 17–29th, 2018.