Ramsar Co-Organizes Workshop on Climate Adaptation in Murray-Darling Basin

29 July 2010: Max Finlayson, wetlands and climate change expert member of Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP), and Brendan Edgar, Australia's National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, co-organized a workshop to review options for coping with adapting to a changing climate in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), south-east Australia's major river catchment.

The workshop took place mid-July 2010, in Canberra, Australia, and brought together 18 wetland and water management experts, with Nick Davidson, Ramsar Deputy Secretary-General, participating. Opening the workshop, Finlayson stressed that climate change is predicted to exacerbate the pressure on wetlands in the Basin, in particular in the South-East, which is expected to be warmer and drier in the future.

Workshop participants reviewed issues and opportunities for maintaining wetlands and their ecosystem services in a changing and variable environment, within the context of the current development of a "Murray Darling Basin Plan" under the framework of Australia's 2007 Water Act. Recommendations from the workshop include: preparing a case study of the experiences in the MDB on predicting, managing and adapting to global change, including climate change, as well as in relation to Ramsar commitments on wise use and the maintenance of ecological character; better assessing the range and distribution of all types of wetlands throughout the Basin; and better assessing the range and value of ecosystem services currently and formerly delivered by different wetlands in the Basin. [Ramsar Press Release]