Did you know wetlands🌿store more carbon than any other ecosystem?
Yet are one of Earth's most threatened habitats⚠️
— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) February 1, 2022
This is why, Ms. Carvalho explained, their protection is a priority for UNEP and a special focus of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
According to the expert, the UN Climate Conference (COP 26), last November, “started to shine a spotlight on the role of finance and political will.”
“[But] more of both need to be channelled towards wetlands, enshrined in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and better integrated into development plans”, she said.
Teeming with different species, wetlandsare also a key ally in the fight to stop biodiversity loss.
Over 140,000 species, including 55 per cent of all fish, rely on freshwater habitats for their survival. Freshwater species are important to local ecosystems, provide sources of food and income to humans, and are key to flood and erosion control.
Despite this important contribution, wetland species are going extinct more rapidly than terrestrial or marine species, with almost a third of all freshwater biodiversity facing extinction.
According to UNEP, the good news is that protection, sustainable management and restoration of wetlands work, and this damage can be reversed.
One project in the Baltic, for instance, aims to improve water quality in lagoons polluted by fertilizer run-off by using floating, vegetation-rich, wetlands to remove nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
In 2015, under Sustainable Development Goal 6, Target 6, all countries committed to protect and restore wetlands, by 2030.
The World Day, 2 February, also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in 1971.