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Regional Wetlands Action Plan for the Pacific Islands

posted on 2023-05-25, 06:10 authored by Joanna EllisonJoanna Ellison
Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems and they play a critical role in sustaining the livelihoods of Pacific island peoples, and contribute significantly to national economies. Wetlands include our rivers, lakes, peatlands, coral reefs, mangroves, mudflats, marshes and seagrass beds. In addition to their livelihood and economic benefits, wetlands support extensive biodiversity with high conservation value and their sound management can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation schemes. Loss of wetlands means losing the valuable ecosystem services that they provide and this impacts negatively on humans. Tourism, food security and coastal protection are often the most impacted by the degradation and loss of wetlands. In small islands, the poorest people usually live very near to and depend directly on wetland ecosystems for their livelihood. They are also the least able to cope with the impacts of wetland loss. Climate change adds another dimension to the continuing destruction of our wetlands but it brings a greater imperative for their protection and sustainable management. Across the Pacific, there is growing evidence that climate change is resulting in more intense cyclones and storm surges, coastal erosion, loss of fish breeding grounds and reduced water quality on many small islands. It is becoming clearer that better management and protection of our wetland ecosystems could help islands build resilience and adapt better to the impacts of our changing climate. Conserving our valuable wetlands and adapting to and building resilience to climate change impacts are inextricably interlinked. We recognise that one cannot realistically be addressed without the other and, more importantly, that human activity is as much to blame as climate change for the continuing destruction of our wetlands. Wetlands protection needs to be made a priority of national development planning and implementation. This new Regional Wetlands Action Plan marks a significant step forward for progressing initiatives for the conservation of our precious Pacific wetlands over the next three years. It aims to address some of the fundamental issues, challenges and emerging threats to Pacific wetlands. SPREP and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat are committed to ensuring that the action plan will be implemented in a timely manner and in coordination with all Pacific Island governments and regional and international partners.


Commissioning body

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP)




School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP)

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)

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