SWOS-support at Workshop to agree the contribution of Earth Observation data to the Wetland Extent indicator for SDG Goal 6.6

On November 11/22 a delegation from the SWOS team attended a workshop co-organised by the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) on monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (1). Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation, aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. Within Goal 6 Target 6 states: “By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”.

Wetlands are key in sustainable development, especially with regards to water (SDG 6), but additionally wetlands will be crucial for countries to reach SDG Target 14.2 on “Sustainable management of marine and coastal ecosystems”, 15.1 on “Protection, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems” and 15.3 “Combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil” and have a role to play in SDG 2 (Zero hunger), 11 (Resilience), and 13 (Climate change)

To measure progress towards SDG Target 6.6 and to enable countries to prioritise their efforts and reach this target indicators are needed. This workshop was the start of a process to define a remote sensing based solution to measure countries’ progress on Target 6.6 that can support decisions on prioritisation of conservation and restoration efforts of water-related ecosystems. Though recent studies show that the extent and status of wetlands globally are severely declining (2) (3), with devastating impacts, there is no globally consistent information available with the level of detail required to support countries in more sustainable wetland management.

At this workshop different initiatives that may contribute were brought together. SWOS provides for a standardised approach to wetland inventory and monitoring that could facilitate UN member states’ reporting on SDG Target 6.6. SWOS results may also feed into the recently published Wetland Extent Trend Index (4) by UNEP-WCMC, one of the SWOS partners, to enable reporting on a country and/or wetland type level.

Further relevant information:

(1) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

(2) Ramsar Briefing Note 7 “State of the Worlds Wetlands and their Services to People”

(3) How much wetland has the world lost? Long term and recent trends in global wetland area. Nick Davidson, 2014

(4) The Wetland Extent Trend Index