‘We cannot exist without nature’

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Photo_group_2It is now the fourth day of the ‘Caux Dialogue on Land and Security’ Conference. Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention opened the morning plenary by emphasizing the importance of not only restoring lands but also restoring wetlands in order to save the environment.

During his talk he explained that wetlands both provide and clean all our water, encouraging people to use them wisely for agriculture, washing, food and enjoyment. He also underlined their role as protectors from manmade and natural disasters. Sadly, 40% of wetlands have been lost in the past 40 years and this is an important factor in human development. Briggs ended his talk by pointing out that in order to continue benefitting from wetlands, three important conditions must be fulfilled: involvement of the local community, raising awareness, and influencing behaviors.

In the second half of the plenary, five speakers were invited to the stage to give short introductions about themselves and how they are involved in the matter of land and agriculture. Cyriaque Sendashonga, Global Director of IUCN Policy, emphasized that ‘we cannot exist without nature’. Peter Van der Auweraert, Head of the Property, Land, Reparation Division at IOM discussed the lack of understanding of land’s complex structure. Brendan Bromwich, UNEP Coordinator in Sudan suggested a 10-year programme as a solution to the current situation of land and agriculture. The last two speakers Adam Koniuszewski, COO of Green Cross International and Jakob Rhyner, Vice-Rector of the United Nations University addressed other key issues such as chemical weapons and mobility.

The session ended with rounds of questions raised by the audience. The questions included issues such as policy coherence, questions about funds and the extent of students’ involvement in this matter. During the afternoon, participants will attend different workshops. There will also be a fireside conversation in the evening with Director General of IUCN Julia Marton-Lefèvre and young participants on the topic “2050: Hopes and Realities”.

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