Mobilizing Wetlands Action: The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands renews partnership with Danone
07 Sep 2021
Marseille, September 6, 2021 - The Convention on Wetlands and global food company Danone signed a new 3-year agreement to increase global visibility and understanding of wetlands among public and private sector decision-makers.
Following more than 20 years of support for the Convention on Wetlands, Danone’s renewed commitment today comes at a critical moment, when wetlands restoration and preservation is recognized as essential to protecting planetary and human health.
Indeed, wetlands are critical to securing freshwater supply and addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. But despite these critical benefits, they remain one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems, disappearing three times faster than forests.
Signed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France, the partnership agreement lays out three avenues for collaboration:
- Raise awareness on the importance of wetlands to human and planetary health among public and private sector audiences through the global World Wetlands Day campaign
- Accelerate the adoption of best practices that conserve wetlands by offering a $10,000 Evian Special Prize to each of the three recipients of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards. These Awards honour individuals, organizations and governments around the world or exemplary actions that promote wetland conservation.
- Facilitate scientific knowledge dissemination to inform decision-making and promote sustainable management practices of wetlands, including drawing on the work of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Convention.
The partners hope increased visibility of the benefits wetlands provide, coupled with practical scientific knowledge, will accelerate global action to secure and invest in wetlands.
“It will take collective action from all of society, including the private sector, to drastically accelerate actions and reach the scale necessary to conserve and restore the world’s wetlands “said Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
“At this pivotal moment to reverse the staggering biodiversity loss and ensure a sustainable and fairer world for all, public-private collaboration to scale nature-based solutions for human and planetary health has never been more urgent. I welcome this renewed partnership with Danone to help ensure future generations can benefit from the vital benefits that wetlands provide.” She added.
Henri Bruxelles, Chief Operating Officer End to End Design to Delivery at Danone declared: “Wetlands are crucial to water security, biodiversity preservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation - and yet they are among the most threatened ecosystems on our planet.
Twenty-three years ago, Danone pioneered ecosystems preservation by signing its first partnership with the Ramsar Convention. Since then, we have led several local initiatives to protect and restore wetlands with brands like AQUA in Indonesia.
Today through this partnership, Danone still aims at accelerating awareness of the importance of wetlands and building local capabilities that help communities around the world restore and protect them. There is vast potential for impact, with 82 countries and 1.3 billion people participating in the 2021 World Wetlands Day.”
Convinced about the private sector’s role to conserve wetlands, Danone was the first company to partner the Convention on Wetlands in 1998. Ten years later Danone’s Evian site in France was the first natural mineral water recharge area to be designated a Wetland of International Importance, (Ramsar Site), and added to the list of sites managed by the Convention.
In 2018, the Villavicencio Nature Reserve in Argentina became the second Danone site to be designated as a Ramsar Site. Villavicencio is an important resource for natural mineral water and a rich biodiversity hotspot.
The designation of these two Ramsar Sites by Danone demonstrates the company’s commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands where it operates. Furthermore, it shows how the private sector can collaborate with governments on conservation efforts at a national level.
The partnership has also sparked other important achievements, including the Danone Fund for nature in 2008, where together with IUCN, the Danone aimed to restore degraded coastal wetlands, re-develop local economies, and combat climate change and poverty.
This fund has since evolved into the Livelihoods Fund, operational since 2011.
Also in 2008, the partnership launched the “Water Institute by evian” to assist communities in managing water resources and improving their livelihoods. Three restoration projects were implemented successfully with local NGOs and communities at Ramsar Sites in Argentina, Nepal, Japan and Thailand.
Through this latest partnership, the Convention on Wetlands and Danone aim to build on previous achievements to accelerate wetlands protection around the world.