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Geneva celebrates World Wetlands Day

Practical examples and challenges of promoting wetlands for disaster risk reduction have been discussed during a roundtable on ‘Healthy Wetlands, Resilient Communities’ celebrating World Wetlands Day in Geneva.

More than 40 representatives from Permanent Missions in the city and about 150 people attended the event, which took place on 2 February and included speakers from governments, civil society, humanitarian and development agencies.

Martha Rojas-Urrego - Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands - highlighted the importance of wetlands for making communities more resilient in extreme weather events, helping to minimize the damage from these hazards.

Real-life examples of using wetlands for disaster risk reduction were presented by representatives from the Permanent Mission of Philippines to the UN in Geneva and from the Japanese Ministry of Environment. Other experiences and the importance of counting nature as infrastructure were shared by Inger Andersen, Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Garry Conille, from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, underlined the importance of empowering communities and building their resilience through an integrated environmental management approach. The necessity of creating partnerships and involving all players in disaster risk reduction - including the private sector - was another point raised by Kirsi Madi, Director of UNISDR.

“The issue is starting to be not so much about whether wetlands are needed to reduce risks, but about how we can get an integrated approach to implement this concept,” concluded Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer at Wetlands International.

The roundtable was organised by the Geneva Environment Network, UN Environment members of the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction and the Ramsar Convention.

The events’ outcomes will contribute to the 2017 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held on 22-26 May in Cancún, Mexico.

For more information contact Further details and photos from the event can be found on the PEDRR Facebook page by clicking here.












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