"We face an urgent need to ensure the protection of remaining intact wetlands and to significantly scale up restoration of degraded wetlands across Europe."
This is one of the key message of the brand-new recommendation paper “Restoring Riverine and Coastal Wetlands in Europe – Scaling Up Action for Biodiversity and Climate” published by the European Network of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA).
The ENCA Recommendations are aimed at actors from politics, science and practice at the interface of biodiversity and climate change. They summarise the results of the fifth European Conference on Biodiversity and Climate Change, which focused on riverine and coastal wetlands. The BioClim Wetlands conference was organised by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and ENCA in September 2023, in cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and adelphi. During the conference, the LIFE WILDislands project was presented by its coordinator, Mr. Georg Frank, as a key example for implementing large-scale wetland action in practice.
In the conference’s interactive workshop sessions, around 120 experts from 24 countries discussed concrete steps and measures for protecting Europe's increasingly degraded wetlands, which are severely threatened by climate change. They highlighted that healthy floodplains and coastal wetlands are important for the conservation of biodiversity, for adaptation to climate change, as long-term carbon stores and because of the many other social and economic services they provide for people. To restore them effectively, it is key to make people part of the process, think long-term, use integrative approaches and demonstrate benefits.
The recommendations for action now published address necessary political changes for wetland conservation, the practical implementation of restoration measures, the communication and expansion of scientific research on the topic as well as better transdisciplinary cooperation between all involved actors.
The recommendations are freely available for download here.