COP18: We must value wetlands for their role as a carbon sink

COP18 (26/11/12) – Anada Tiega, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands says that people must value all types of wetlands from the mountains to the sea. He says wetlands are vital not only for climate change mitigation and adaptation but also for food security, energy production and poverty eradication.

He says it is important to acknowledge the importance of wetlands because it is through water that we feel the most immediate consequences of climate change – from drought on the one side to flooding on the other.

He uses the example of peatlands to show the role wetlands play. Peatlands have been a store for carbon for thousands of year, and the draining and the degradation of such areas releases this carbon dioxide – as well as methane and nitrous oxide – into the atmosphere.

He says it is vital that such wetlands are protected so they can continue to play a role as a carbon sink. However, he warns, research shows that 20-30% of all mangroves areas, salt marshes and seagrass meadows are being lost because people still do not understand their value.