I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well as we embark on another year of action for wetlands.
Already three months have passed since I assumed my new role as Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands, and what a wonderful few months it has been acclimatizing to this new position, with a new team in a familiar setting, having worked at the Secretariat as a Junior Professional back in 1998.
In the post-pandemic world, we slowly but surely returned to near normal which allowed us to meet at COP14 after an enforced delay. I would like to say a huge thank you to all our Contracting Parties and Partners for your ongoing support and commitment to the Convention. This meeting late last year, with the many decisions collectively taken, filled me with plenty of hope, a lot of joy and a real sense of belief as to the possibilities ahead of us at the beginning of a new triennium for the Convention having just concluded COP14. The Convention’s wider importance to climate change and nature was reinforced by our presence and participation during COP27 and COP15 respectively.
The challenge ahead of us is to address the triple planetary crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss we are currently witnessing, while pushing for an increase in healthy and resilient wetland ecosystems. It’s imperative we scale up and find innovative solutions to bolster the health of the planet, and for this to happen I encourage stronger collaboration! Ensuring the active participation of young people of the current and next generation will strengthen, enhance and substantiate the work we are undertaking to sizeable effect. Invest in them.
I was recently in Kigali, acknowledged as a Ramsar Wetland City at COP14, and I was enthused by the impact this accreditation has had on government funding and action to further restore and conserve an additional four wetland sites in the city. I wish to thank the Rwandan Government for their time and investment in this initiative and hope this may act as an inspiration to other cities and governments in Africa and beyond.
As we make steps into 2023, a challenging year beckons though a challenge within which we are all braced to take in our collective strides. World Wetlands Day, now an official UN Day, is just three weeks away with the campaign already very much in full swing as excitement builds up towards this momentous day.
I wish you all a happy and healthy start to the year, and I look forward thoroughly and with bristling anticipation to working with you this coming year - for wetlands, people and nature.
Dr. Musonda Mumba
Secretary General, Convention on Wetlands