Ivonne Higuero, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

31 Jan 2023

Wetlands are full of life. They are some of the most productive ecosystems on earth, accommodating nearly 20 thousand animal and plant species. They filter, clean, and store water. They are crucial for food security, carbon storage and stormwater storage. [or if you want it more CITES/wildlife-based - They are home, shelter and breeding grounds for species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and plants]. World Wetlands Day is a time to stop and think about the importance of these incredible ecosystems.

We, at CITES - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora – regulate the international trade in more than 38 thousand species of animals and plants to ensure that trade doesn’t threaten them with extinction… but over-exploitation isn’t the only threat that wildlife faces – loss of habitats, such as wetlands, is one of the most serious concerns. The planet has already seen the loss or degradation of nearly 90 per cent of its wetlands – and that rate of loss is accelerating.

This is the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. It is time that we halted and reversed the decline in Wetlands. CITES is proud to work closely with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and to support them in their goal of reviving and restoring degraded wetlands. Doing so would enable the animal and plant species that live in these environments to survive and thrive and would contribute to the biodiversity conservation that is so crucial to the health of the planet and our own health and wellbeing.