Protecting the Planet Newsletter: Reconciling Development Changes
  27 March 2015
Ramsar Convention’s Secretary General Dr Christopher Briggs says it is ‘critical’ that the world’s governments start to restore wetlands to a healthy state to ensure water in the ‘right quantity and quality is available for our future needs’. His statement was delivered ahead of a momentous few months for water and wetlands with the 7th World Water Forum taking place in Daegu and Gyeongbuk in the Republic of South Korea from 12-17 April, and the 12th Conference of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Punta del Este, Uruguay between 1-9 June. 
Race For Water Odyssey © Race For Water Foundation
Ocean drive to clear plastic waste
A unique sailing expedition to create the first ever inventory of plastic pollution across the most polluted ocean areas set off this week from Bordeaux, France. Initiated by the Race For Water Foundation in collaboration with IUCN, the Race For Water Odyssey aims to collect and analyse plastic waste. The crew aims to complete its mission in a record time of less than 300 days.
Green turtle © IUCN Photos
Spotlight shines on Uruguay
The spotlight will shine on Uruguay's Bañados del Este y Franja Costera wetland between 1-9 June when the region hosts the 12th Conference of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Punta del Este south from the wetland, in neighbouring Maldonado province. If you have ever dreamed of visiting this corner of South America, then make sure you do not miss out on this opportunity to see the vast complex of coastal wetlands which are home to a myriad of endangered species such as the juvenile green turtle.
Dr Ania Grobicki © Ramsar
Dr Ania Grobicki
With two-thirds of the world's wetlands already gone, what can YOU do to help prevent wetlands vanishing from the surface of the earth? IUCN catches up with the inspirational new Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Dr Ania Grobicki to find out how everyone can do their bit to stop these vital protected areas disappearing. You can also find out more about Ramsar's strategic plan for 2016-2021 ahead of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Uruguay.
Freshwater protected area in Lao © H Patricio
Mekong's wish for fish
Communities living near the Mekong River depend on fishing for food and income, but many fish species are in decline. FISHBIO, and its Conservation Director Harmony Patricio have evaluated the effectiveness of existing Freshwater Protected Areas in the Mekong River Basin of Lao PDR by training locals in data collection. This solution is published on the Panorama website. Help us develop the Panorama into a go-to resource for the protected area community, and give us your feedback on the prototype web platform! 
Hainburg/Donau-Auen National Park, Austria © IUCN
Sign up for 'Little Sydney' now!
Do not miss out on the chance to be a participant at the event which everybody is talking about - the 'Little Sydney: Protecting Nature in Europe' conference, taking place in Hainburg/Donau-Auen National Park, Austria from 28-31 May 2015. The conference will build on the outcomes of the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 and the Promise of Sydney. Register this week and you'll get the special 'Early Bird' discount offer.   
Water is everything © Shutterstock Igor Kolos

No water, no life
This year the World Water Day theme was sustainable development, highlighting how water links to all the essential elements. "Nature filters toxins, buffers against storms, and stores water. Healthy and robust ecosystems form the backbone of a sustainable water future," says Director of the IUCN Global Water Programme Dr Mark Smith. Sustainable water management underpins all of the goals of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. Without water, there is no life. 

PARKS 21.1
In the first issue of PARKS since the IUCN World Parks Congress, do not miss out on new papers on the Sydney Parklands (Stream 3) and on Human Wildlife Conflict (Stream 1). To whet your appetite for the next issue, we highlight here a paper from Kenya on the lessons learned from attempts to tackle Human Wildlife Conflict since the 1970s. The full issue of PARKS will be available here from 31 March.
Grand Etang Lake, Grenada © BIOPAMA Photo Library
Training in data management
BIOPAMA Caribbean will assist the organisation of 5 trainings on protected area data management. Is your organisation actively involved in managing protected areas at the national level and needing assistance in conducting data management workshops/trainings? Apply before the 10 April 2015. For more information click below. Details in Spanish are also available.
RDC Factsheet © IUCN
Bright future for protected areas 
Did you know that a global economic assessment of 63 million hectares of wetlands estimated their value at US$3.4 billion per year? The highest benefits are found in Asia with an economic value of US$1.8 billion per year. For more information on the World Parks Congress stream on Reconciling Development Changes you can check out the official fact sheet here or read the proposed innovative approaches here
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