Message from Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, on the occasion of the World Water Day 

On the occasion of the World Water Day 2018, it is important to highlight the importance of wetlands to meeting our global water challenges. We cannot talk about water without talking about wetlands. Wetlands provide us with water for consumption as well as for food and energy production. They sustain our livelihoods and economies. They work as the earth’s kidneys, filtering waste and pollution. These and other critical functions, make the conservation and wise use of wetlands central to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Wetlands include freshwater bodies such as lakes, rivers, swamps, marshes and also marine and coastal wetlands such as mangroves, and coral reefs. We are losing all these wetlands at unprecedented pace. Since 1900, 64% of the world’s wetlands have been drained, filled and converted to other purposes mainly for agriculture and infrastructure.

As a result of such unsustainable practices, access to fresh water is declining for one to two billion people worldwide. With a rapidly growing world population, the global demand for water is continuing to rise and a supply gap of 40% is projected by 2030. Further, the business community has identified a water crisis and other water-related risks such as natural disasters among the top five global risks with the greatest likelihood, and impact. Urgent action is needed to reverse these trends.

Read the full message here.

Photo credit: Ramsar Convention