World water day: wetland restoration, an urgent priority

This year the celebrations of World Water Day, March 22, focus on groundwater and its importance for human life and nature. Almost all liquid fresh water on the planet is underground and, in addition to preserving a rich biodiversity, provides numerous ecosystem services (supply of drinking water, availability of water resources for agricultural activities and industrial processes, support for health systems ).

For International Water Day we want to signal invisible and underground benefits generated by wetlands.

Peat bogs, lakes, ponds, swamps, springs and marshes retain large quantities of carbon in the subsoil and counteract greenhouse gas emissions. They function as natural barriers against extreme events, mitigate the shocks of floods, conserve water for the driest periods, guarantee the production of food and the supply of raw materials. In addition, wetland plants filter and absorb fertilizers and pesticides generated by agricultural practices and wastewater.

Unfortunately, these environments are also among the most vulnerable ecosystems on the planet: in the last 50 years we lost 48% of the wetlands in the Mediterranean basin.

In collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean, Wetland-based Solutions project produced a programmatic dossier that analyzes the current state of the Mediterranean wetlands. And it invites to adopt concrete measures for their protection and redevelopment. The restoration and sustainable management of wetlands is an effective nature-based solution capable of improving the resilience of communities in the Mediterranean, one of the areas most exposed to the negative effects of climate change.

Mediterranean wetland restoration: an urgent priority” is a call addressed to stakeholders, governments, public and private institutions to implement coordinated actions for halting the loss of biodiversity in wetlands and to safeguard their capacity of producing ecosystems services.

Wetland-based Solutions project brings togheter experts and organizations (including Medwet, Wetlands international and BirdLife, with the support of MAVA Foundation) animated by the use of nature-based solutions as actions to protect and sustainably mangage natural ecosystems.