Friday, January 31, 2014


2 February 2014
“Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth”.

The significant challenges facing agriculture are well known. Simply put, the world will need to produce more food and reduce the external impacts of food production systems on the environment.

Family farming is a priority area in this regard. In developing countries, these farms already produce most of the food, represent a major way out of poverty for rural populations, and are well placed for significant gains in productivity with relatively little investment.

Wetlands are already an important source of food. For example, well managed rice paddy systems produce not only rice but also co-benefits from rice-associated biodiversity, such as highly nutritious food in the form of fish, molluscs and crustaceans. Wetlands also support the multitude of biota that helps sustain rice productivity through supporting nutrient cycling and pest and disease regulation. The entire production of inland capture fisheries and most coastal fisheries is derived from wetlands, as is most aquaculture production.

Ecosystems and the services they deliver offer the solution to simultaneously achieving food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. The history of wetlands and agriculture provide us with good insight into both the mistakes of the past and solutions for the future. Worldwide, over 50% of wetlands have been lost. Many of those that remain are highly degraded. Conversion to farming, over-extraction of water for irrigation and the impacts of farming systems on soil erosion and water quality are the leading causes. Yet we know that the value of wetlands on a per unit area basis, far outstrips the economic benefits of farming. It is well established, for example, that the conversion of
mangrove areas to shrimp farming has drastically reduced their overall value through the loss of the often invisible benefits of nature such as fisheries nurseries, water regulation and storm protection. Similar examples can be found in most farming systems. Much of the loss in overall economic benefits is driven by agricultural and perverse subsidies.

The trade-offs between agriculture and wetlands are not the only way of assessing the needs. A simple and positive viewpoint is that wetlands contribute to supporting agriculture beyond the food they produce directly. Throughout the world, and especially in water scarce areas, wetlands provide essential water sources for livestock and small-scale farmers. Wetlands play a crucial role in recharging groundwater supplies and maintaining regional aquifers, for example through the seasonal inundation of floodplains and wetlands in the Sahel. This contributes to the security of the water supply throughout the year, including for farming. Wetlands already receive most of the water pollution from agriculture, and their
capacity to process pollutants without becoming degraded can be exceeded.

Man-made wetlands are becoming increasingly integrated into farming systems as intelligent solutions to the problem of nutrient run-off from farms. Restoring riparian vegetation along water-courses is a wellproven method of buffering communities downstream from the impacts of soil erosion and improving water quality. In addition to these benefits for agriculture, conserving or restoring wetlands provides a multitude of other benefits including habitat for wildlife and cultural, tourism and recreational benefits.

These examples serve to highlight that we need to shift away from thinking of conflicts between wetlands and agriculture, to recognising that both are inter-dependent and can, and must, be managed together in a landscape setting. These and other important linkages between agriculture and wetlands are well reflected in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and demonstrate that the Aichi Biodiversity Targets are inter-dependent
and need to be achieved collectively. For example, the topic is central to Targets 3 (regarding subsidies), 5 (on rate of loss of habitats), 6 (on fisheries), 7 (that agriculture/aquaculture areas are managed sustainably), 8 (that impacts of pollution are reduced), 11 (on protected areas, notably Ramsar Sites), 13 (that genetic diversity is maintained, for example in rice systems) and 14 and 15 (that ecosystem services
are safeguarded and restored). The importance of integrating traditional knowledge, innovations and practices at all relevant levels (Target 18) is particularly relevant considering the depth of knowledge held among indigenous and local community farmers, including regarding the value and role of wetlands in farming.

This years’ World Wetlands Day theme contributes to the United Nations International Year of Family Farming 2014, coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which offers an opportunity to highlight the critical role of wetlands as natural infrastructure to support family farming and aquaculture. On this day I am pleased to recognise the important role of the Ramsar Convention and the FAO as the lead implementing partners for the CBD for wetlands and agriculture respectively. Partnerships between wetlands and agriculture, supported by partnerships between all relevant stakeholders involved in both, will be a significant contribution to a better and more sustainable world for us all.


2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014.

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Three new ratifications edge landmark treaty on genetic resources towards entry into force

Montreal, 31 January 2014 – Three new ratifications to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization provide significant momentum towards its entry into force. The recent ratifications by Benin, Burkina Faso and Myanmar bring the total number of ratifications to the ground-breaking treaty under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to 29. This means that only 21 more ratifications are needed for the Protocol to enter into force.

Benin and Burkina Faso become the twelfth and thirteenth African countries, respectively, and Myanmar the eleventh Asian country, to ratify the Nagoya Protocol. Their support underlines the importance of this instrument in the service of sustainable development.

“These recent ratifications by Benin, Burkina Faso and Myanmar establish the necessary momentum towards entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol in time for the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, to be hosted by the Republic of Korea in October 2014,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary. “I encourage all countries that have not done so to ratify the Protocol at their earliest convenience, as the early entry into force of the Protocol will also mean achieving Aichi Target 16.”

There will be an exchange of views on the state of implementation of the Nagoya Protocol at the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP 3), to be held 24-28 February 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

The Nagoya Protocol will enter into force on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. Benin, Burkina Faso and Myanmar join Albania, Bhutan, Botswana, Comoros, Côte D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mauritius, Mexico, the Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Norway, Panama, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Africa, the Syrian Arab Republic and Tajikistan are the countries that have ratified or acceded to the landmark treaty so far.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as part of his message for the 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity called “on all Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity who have not already done so, to ratify the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, and therefore help us all to work toward the future we want.”

The Secretary-General wrote to all Heads of State/Government highlighting the valuable contribution that the Protocol can make to sustainable development and urging ratification at the earliest opportunity so that the international community can move to the implementation phase. The significance of the Nagoya Protocol was also highlighted during a special joint briefing event to the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 30 October 2013. In addition, in December 2013 the General Assembly, in resolution A/RES/68/214, invited parties to the Convention to ratify or accede to the Nagoya Protocol so as to ensure its early entry into force and its implementation.

In a joint letter addressed to CBD Parties in January 2014, M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Environment and Forests, India, and COP 11 President, and CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias expressed the hope that countries could finalize their internal processes towards the ratification or accession of the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible but no later than 7 July 2014.

Information on how to become a Party to the Protocol is available at:

Action4Climate Documentary Film Competition

The Action4Climate Documentary Film Competition has extended its deadline to April 1, 2014 - see the call for action:

Action4Climate is a new global competition for the best environmental documentary on climate change. The competition invites young aspiring filmmakers to produce and submit a 1-12 minute documentary telling a story about climate change.

How is climate change impacting your community?
What are you doing about it?
What needs to be done to solve the climate challenge?
The competition is open to young filmmakers from all over the world (individuals and teams of 5 or less) in two age groups:14 –17 and 18–35.
Amazing film directors and producers, and climate change experts will select the winning entries - see their support messages: 
  • BernardoBertolucci - President of the Jury
  • Atom Egoyan
  • Marc Forster
  • Mika Kaurismaki
  • Rose Kuo
  • Rachel Kyte
  • Cynthia López
  • Fernando Meirelles
  • Mira Nair
  • Bob Rafelson
  • Walter Salles
  • Pablo Trapero
  • Wim Wenders
The winners will be awarded with cash prizes up to US$15000 or video equipment. Winning films will go to major film festivals and will be featured on the new MTV Voices platform.
The deadline for submissions is April 1st, 2014.
For more information about the competition

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The International Carbon Action Partnership

The International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP) will convene the 2014 ICAP Training Course on Emissions Trading for Emerging Economies and Developing Countries in Santiago, Chile, from 5 to 14 May 2014.

The ICAP Training Course is open to applicants from Latin America and the Caribbean. It is addressed to policy makers and other stakeholders from the nongovernmental, academic and private sectors, who are involved in the development of emissions trading systems (ETS) and/or GHG mitigation policy in their jurisdictions.

The course will focus on key issues faced in the design and implementation of ETS, taking into account the specific needs and interests of developing countries.

Application deadline is 17 February. The course will be conducted in English. Applications are to be submitted in English. More information – including applications documents - is available on the ICAP website,

The World Conference On Youth 2014

The World Conference On Youth 2014 which will take place from 6-10 May in Sri Lanka needs you !
Until 21 February you can apply to become a youth delegate at this important event, bringing together 1500 young people and governments to discuss youth involvement in the Post-2015 development agenda. You can apply to be a delegate, conference blogger or even a facilitator here:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chickadees at Macoun Marsh, Canada

The Black-capped Chickadee is a small, North American songbird, a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae.

Few birds in our region are as bold and tame as chickadees.  On a cold day they are easily encouraged to feed directly from your hand.

Chickadees love sunflower seeds and suet.  They will sometimes eat nyjer seeds. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


A water plant was introduced in an effort to beautify Luentsho, a lake in Wangduephodrang, central Bhutan few years ago. But it has spread to cover the entire surface of the lake and has threatened its existence by causing its gradual drying. However with the financial assistance from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recovery of the lake has been initiated. Additionally, Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programs (SGP) has also been supporting to apply for the grant of USD 33,250 for the rehabilitation of the lake.
25 January


Local government of Tibet, southwestern China has promoted the utilization of green energy to benefit local residents. For instance, solar energy has been widely popular in the area for various purposes such as lighting, telecommunication, broadcasting as well as heating along with solar stoves and boilers and methane gas for cooking. The use of such energy has not only enhanced economic benefits to local people but also benefited the environment.
January 21


Around 25,000 households in Mayudia model village in Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India has received solar energy equipment which was provided by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) in association with Arunachal Pradesh Environment (APE) and Forest department. This has helped in meeting the power crisis in the village and has also encouraged people to participate in conservation activities.
January 20


A finding from the nationwide winter bird count indicated increase in number of birds in the country in spite of a loss of habitat. Nepal is host to over 8 per cent of the total birds in the world supporting 871 species of which 150 are winter birds and nearly 200 wetland birds. The findings revealed that three bird species -- great thick knee, black bellied Tern and Black-necked Stork are missing from Chitwan.
January 26