Wetlands Action for People and Nature: World Wetlands Day 2022

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The CIC joins in celebrating World Wetlands Day 2022!  World Wetland Day (WWD) is an annual campaign which looks to raise awareness on the importance of wetlands.

This year is the first iteration of WWD after being officially recognised as an international day of the United Nations (UN).

This year’s theme is Wetlands Action for People and Nature. It is a call to action to invest financial, human and political capital in order to save and restore the world’s wetlands.

However, in order to understand the importance of our actions, it is first necessary to discuss the types of activities that are critical to wetland conservation.

Valuing wetlands for the benefits they produce, managing and sustainably using wetlands for their continued survival, and restoring lost and degraded wetlands for the benefit of biodiversity are the three key elements to ensuring the long-term health of our wetlands.

Hunters play an essential role in valuing, managing and restoring wetlands all over the world. As engaged stakeholders in waterbird conservation, they have incentives to ensure that waterbird populations and their habitats, including wetlands, remain healthy.

Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA, discussed the importance of hunters in wetland conservation in a statement made for the 2021 World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) side event hosted at the CIC Stand during the One with Nature (OWN) Exhibition in Budapest.

              WMDB side event at the OWN Exhibition

We would strongly encourage all hunters and sustainable use organisations to get involved in projects that look to protect wetlands through any of the three methods mentioned above.

To give an example, we would highlight the work conducted by the Waterfowlers Network, a collection of seven organisations that look to create a better world for birds and waterfowlers. Iben Hove Sørensen, Secretary of the Waterfowlers’ Network, is also the Head of the CIC Migratory Bird Management Specialist Group.

In 2021, the Waterfowlers Network donated 4,500 EUR to the SOTKA Project, a Finnish wetland restoration initiative which will look to restore 400 hectares of Finnish wetlands.

To date, the project has restored 12.5 hectares of poorly managed agricultural land in Eastern Finland, and converted it into a wetland with high value for birds and biodiversity. In particular, the restoration of this wetland will benefit species such as Eurasian wigeon and mallard by providing them with brood habitats.

                       Eurasian wigeon

Other common activities carried out by hunters for the benefit of wetlands are the removal of invasive alien predators, as well as the creation of resting stops and feeding areas for migratory waterbirds.

The CIC would encourage all hunters to get involved in wetland conservation in their respective countries. As individuals that sustainably use nature in wetlands, it is the duty of hunters to ensure that these areas are conserved for future generations.