Wetlands act as water sources, sinks and purifiers. They protect our shores. They are Earth’s greatest natural carbon stores. They support abundant and unique nature. But we have lost so much of our wetland treasure. And those that remain are under growing pressure. This makes people and nature vulnerable.
It’s time to reverse the trend.
Together with many partners around the world, Wetlands International works to safeguard and restore wetlands to benefit people and nature.
This Strategy document is the highest level guide to our work. It sets out the ambitions of Wetlands International in terms of what we aim to achieve for people and nature – and how and where we plan to go about that work. We also indicate what it will mean in terms of organisational development and resourcing. We reset our Strategy every five years, but with a ten year outlook. This is because the world is changing rapidly around us and we need to regularly refocus on how we can best make a positive impact. Additionally, our own capacities and partnerships continue to develop. So, before preparing this document, we took stock of who and where we are and drew on advice from our stakeholders and members in all regions. The heads of all our offices and the senior technical team of the organisation then developed the thematic framework for our future work, which forms the heart of this document. Our Strategy gives all of our offices a common focus and basis for collaboration across the globe. Regional strategies in turn provide the means to have a different emphasis in different regions, according to needs and opportunities. We will track and measure our success according to the goals set out here, reporting annually on outcomes and milestones reached. We will also use the Strategy to communicate our intentions to donors, partners and collaborators.
In the period up to 2025 we will combine our efforts with those of many other actors to prevent and reverse the loss and degradation of wetlands. We aim to scale up the gains that have been made over the past decade. It’s true that wetlands and their special and beautiful nature are worth conserving for their own sake. But they are also vital for human well-being. The benefits of wetland conservation and wise use for people and nature are closely and complexly intertwined. So we look to understand these connections and use this knowledge as a basis for taking action. The context for our work varies greatly – from vast, almost natural floodplains, deltas and peatland landscapes to rice-fields, aquaculture ponds and wetlands in and around cities. With the help of all stakeholders in each situation we work to optimise the management of wetland natural resources to benefit people and nature.
By implementing this Strategy, including mobilising the efforts of others, we will make a significant contribution to sustainable development. We see the negotiation of a set of Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 as a unique opportunity to establish a vision and pathway towards a better future for nature and people. Ensuring the sustainable management of water across watersheds will be central to driving progress across the whole spectrum of environmental, social and economic goals. In turn, safeguarding and restoring wetlands – the water sources and sinks in the landscape – will be vital to achieve the water goal as well as to enhance biodiversity; reduce water-related disaster risks; address climate change mitigation and adaptation; and reduce land degradation, poverty and hunger. We will use our Strategy to effect change in policies, investments and practices that bring about these multiple benefits. I am grateful to all our stakeholders, member representatives, Supervisory Council and staff for shaping our Strategy and look forward to working together to bring it to fruition.