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World Wetlands Day Focuses on Role of Wetlands in Addressing Climate Change

2 February 2010: World Wetlands Day was celebrated on 2 February 2010 around the theme “Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change,” with the slogan “Caring for wetlands: an answer to climate change.”

In a message to mark the Day, Anada Tiéga, Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, explained that the Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of these vital ecosystems for our common future and that this year's theme “captures the sense of urgency we all feel about the need to address the potentially disastrous consequences of global climate change as quickly as possible, particularly in the wake of the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC.”

He stressed that the role of wetlands in mitigating and adapting to climate change “must be central in all future debates about the way forward.” He also underlined that as 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, the materials for World Wetlands Day 2010 attempt to illustrate how wetland biodiversity can be adversely affected by climate change and the importance of robust biological diversity in maintaining the wetlands' ability to provide the ecosystem services, in the face of climate change effects. He concluded by underlining the importance of addressing climate change in a holistic manner.

Also in a message to mark the Day, Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), recalled that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that most of the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and people will be felt through changes in the Earth's water cycle and that therefore wetlands will be particularly vulnerable. He underscored the importance of the role played by wetlands in providing ecosystem services that help address climate change, including by being efficient carbon stores, regulating the water cycle, and reducing the risk of disasters. He concluded by noting that “the conservation of biodiversity and the needs of people are intimately tied.” [Ramsar Statement] [CBD Statement] [World Wetlands Day Website]