Wetland Ecosystem: Conservation of wetland ecosystems key for poverty alleviation, says Assam Minister

Assam’s Minister of Environment and Forests, Parimal Suklabaidya, said the conservation of wetland goods and services and the sustainable intensification of wetland ecosystem services are of paramount importance for the reduction of poverty as well as food and livelihood security for the marginal poor segment of society”.

Suklabaidya during the inauguration of the Regional Stakeholder Meeting and Consultative Workshop on “Wetland Ecosystem Services Pricing” at the Assam Agricultural University campus here on Saturday.

On the eve of World Environment Day, SAFE, in association with the Progyan Foundation for Research and Innovation (PFRI), organized the multi-stakeholder workshop to create a platform in line with policy and current programs of the Amrit Sarovar Mission to maximize stakeholder benefits through convergence.

Suklabaidya said the overall mission is fully aligned with the Prime Minister’s “Amrit Sarovar Mission” for the preservation and restoration of wetlands and the sustainable use of their resources by maintaining their ecosystem services.

“In the midst of the climate crisis, wetlands can be a boon to humanity and the importance and significance of wetland ecosystem services have been fairly highlighted in the recent state programme, ‘Mission Amrit Sarovar’ launched in Assam by Hon’ble Prime Mr. Minister, We would like to advance the essence of this program by reviving and rejuvenating the existing water bodies through multipurpose use for water supply, irrigation, fishing and recreational activities,” joked Suklabaidya.

He expressed optimism that the workshop would go a long way in strengthening regional preparedness in the northeastern part of the country by developing capacity in scientific, economic and socio-political planning approaches on ecosystem pricing.

Delivering the keynote address, South Asian Forum for the Environment Senior Scientist Dr. Malancha Dey said the importance of ecosystem services (ES) in global policy was evident in the Paris Agreement, emerging REDD+ and initiatives such as the Aichi Targets and the SDGs. “FAO (2019) reported that the lack of valuation of ecosystem services has led to overexploitation of resources and ill-informed decisions in Asia-Pacific countries. pluralities of ES will be imperative SAFE has worked extensively on wetlands in

east and northeast and has an advantage over others, having worked at the community-ecosystem interface,” he said, adding that SAFE has worked successfully at the Deepor Beel Ramsar site and the Majuli River Island to facilitate adaptive learning over time and space.

“Wetlands are vital for human survival. They cover a total area of ​​12.1 million km2 and account for 40.6% of the total value of global ecosystem services. Wetlands are recognized as both essential for provision of ES and highly threatened by a range of human activities that has resulted in a loss of 35% of the global extent of wetlands since 1970. 5% of the total geographic area is almost 15 million hectares is a wetland in India,

of which 42 Ramsar wetlands cover only 1.07 million hectares and other designated wetlands cover a further 1.3 million hectares, are conserved and support the livelihoods of nearly 4.8 million people, mainly indigenous fishermen and marginal farmers,” added Dr. Dey.

“Since the ecosystem services of these wetlands are not valued for their contributions to be recognized in the gross development products (GDP) of the nation, these wetlands are often neglected and fall victim to urbanization and encroachment. We are losing 25 km² of wetlands for every 1 km² of urban built-up area This is 4.2 times faster than the loss of forest cover Not only are the livelihoods of poor communities or biodiversity protected by wetlands wetlands, but the carbon sequestration potential of wetlands is also 12 times greater than forests.Ecosystem services for the poor of wetlands are four times greater than forests, while 40% of global biodiversity ( genetic resources) is hosted in wetlands,” said SAFE’s lead scientist.