The Strategic Intent 2011-2020 is the ten year outlook for our organisation and the overarching strategy for the organisation worldwide. It reflects the new challenges for wetland conservation and the increasing relevance of wetland condition to human well-being in today’s world.
Wetlands exist in every country and in every climatic zone from the polar regions to the tropics. They are among the world’s most important environmental assets, contributing a disproportionately high amount to global biodiversity, compared with other biomes, as well as providing a cornerstone for human survival and development.
Wetlands are highly variable and dynamic. They can be water bodies but also include land. They can be freshwater, brackish or saline, inland or coastal, seasonal or permanent, natural or man-made. They include rivers, lakes, marshes, rice-fields, floodplains, peat bogs, glaciers, coral reefs as well as flooded forests. Estimated to cover a total area that is 33% bigger than the USA, wetlands are distributed very unevenly and discontinuously, according to hydrological processes. They are connected systems rather than sites - and so are best considered from the whole basin perspective.
There has been concern over the loss and deterioration of wetland species and habitats since wetland loss started to accelerate over fifty years ago. Initially the focus of attention was on threatened species - and while this concern has deepened as habitat loss has advanced, it has been joined by a growing concern for the indirect impacts of wetland loss and the deterioration in ecosystem functioning, leading to loss of services to human populations.