Our annual review provides a great and global overview of all our achievements, our projects, our publications and other products, our donors and our financial situation.
Conserving wetland biodiversity
2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity, which culminated in the Nagoya conference on the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). Thanks to the work of our team, the Convention’s goals for 2020 now recognise the importance of ecosystems in providing and regulating water supplies. Countries that have ratified the CBD have committed themselves to specific targets for safeguarding ecosystems that are important for freshwater. Furthermore, they are committed to protecting and restoring a minimum of 15% of all degraded carbon-rich ecosystems, such as peatlands. More on wetlands.org/CBD
Information tools for wetlands and waterbirds For several decades we have coordinated the International Waterbird Census (IWC), which covers some 100 countries and draws on the work of some 15,000 volunteers. We combined our data with that of BirdLife International, the Ramsar sites database and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and jointly developed the innovative Critical Site Network Tool (see wetlands.org/csntool), launched in 2010. This web portal provides rapid access to information on hundreds of wetlands and their waterbird populations in Africa and Eurasia. For every site, summaries of the ecological requirements for site management are provided. Under the same initiative, we trained 70 trainers in the Middle East, West Africa and Central Asia, using the newly developed Flyway Training Kit. The trainers in turn delivered national trainings, creating capacity among the key people responsible for managing sites and strengthening the IWC.
Protecting the West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis)
Manatees are large, herbivorous mammals that live in fresh and brackish water and are a valuable indicator of healthy wetlands. They also help maintain the balance of aquatic plant life and river navigability. We work to protect this migratory species in an area stretching from Senegal to Sierra Leone in West Africa. In the Saloum Delta in Senegal and in Sierra Leone, we trained and supported several former manatee hunters to find alternative ways to make a living and help halt manatee hunting. In Niumi, the Gambia we replaced the harpoons with a small boat for the entire community to use. As a result, the manatee hunters stopped hunting and started fishing, acting as guides for tourists, monitoring manatees and other species and increasing local awareness regarding the legends and folklore of the manatee. Barrier grills in dams along the Senegal River were replaced, preventing any fatal strandings of manatees in 2010, compared to many cases in previous years.