IEU celebrates 2023 World Wetlands Day: Time for Wetland Restoration
On Thursday, 2 February 2023 the IEU celebrates World Wetlands Day, a day which highlights the value of wetlands. Wetlands can play a significant role in managing risks from climate change. They are an important sink for greenhouse gases, where carbon can be stored and prevented from entering the atmosphere.
At last year’s Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14), the IEU hosted two side events. IEU Head a.i. Andreas Reumann opened the events by describing them as an important step forward in connecting the worlds of climate finance and biodiversity. The side events took the form of panel discussions, with speakers from other climate funds and organizations working on biodiversity and wetland conservation.
“We are at a tipping point for biodiversity. Wetlands are the Earth’s most threatened ecosystem. More than 80% of all wetlands have disappeared since 1700s. Drivers for degradation are in particular agriculture, urban construction, water pollution and overfishing, while wetlands are vital for humanity. Freshwater is rare and wetlands provide most of it. Coastal wetlands store carbon up to 55 times faster than tropical rain forests. And they are an excellent adaptation measure too, with saltmarshes, mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs. The time for incremetal change has passed, we need a paradigm shift to restore this ecosystem now,” remarked Andreas after COP14.
Andreas highlighted the need for synergy between sectors and the implementation of nature positive actions at scale. Discussions also looked at the co-benefits of climate, environmental and biodiversity conservation, and stressed the need for solutions that connect environment, climate, and people.
During the events Andreas described findings from recent evaluations on the Green Climate Fund’s work in adaptation. He shared key findings, including the GCF’s niche positioning in adaptation finance and the need for more capacity building activities to facilitate increased access to finance, and the benefit of clearly defined approaches to working with the private sector. Recognizing the significant financial need in wetland conservation, Andreas shared findings and recommendations on mobilizing climate finance for biodiversity. This includes the important catalytic role funds like the GCF could play, but the need to define in which way funds could act as a catalyst. He also described the importance of enabling environments and capacity building for sound policies. Finally, Andreas closed his presentation by sharing six recommendations to biodiversity, drawing from the rich experience of 14 climate evaluations undertaken by his Unit. Project interventions in wetlands and biodiversity should:
- Consider high risk as an opportunity and quality in catalyzing funds as a must for success.
- Allow for predictability, speed and transparency to foster private sector involvement.
- Ensure that private sector projects are country-owned. Access should be informed by a country-driven approach, with links to the NDCs.
- Create institutional and organizational structures that operationalize direct and indirect finance for private sector activities.
- Set out as a strategic priority to channel finance to local private sector and MSMEs.
- Expand financial instruments and GCF support to enable tailored investment and de-risking opportunities.
The recording of the IEU side events at the 2022 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is now available on the IEU’s YouTube channel. You can watch the recordings below:
Learn more about the evens here: