African wetlands are among the most productive and biologically-diverse ecosystems in the world, but they are also experiencing immense pressure from human activities – the most important being drainage for agriculture and settlement, excessive exploitation by local communities and improperly planned development activities.
Since 1971, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has been the intergovernmental treaty providing the framework for national actions and international cooperation for the conservation and wise usage of wetlands. To date, 169 countries have adopted the Ramsar Convention.
The ESA and the Ramsar Secretariat have jointly launched GlobWetland Africa as a major initiative to provide Earth Observation (EO) methods and tools for major organisations involved in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Africa. These tools will help the major players assess the conditions of wetlands under their areas of jurisdiction or study, and to better monitor their trends over time.
GlobWetland Africa will help African authorities make the best use of satellite-based information on wetland extent and condition for better measuring the ecological state of wetlands. This will increase their capacity to support biodiversity and provide ecosystem services. The project will also organise regional training courses for the partner organisations and ensure technical assistance during a period long enough to allow for an appropriation of the provided methods, tools and products.
Ultimately, GlobWetland Africa aims to enhance the capacity of the African stakeholders to develop their own national and regional wetland observatories, and thereby act as a key contributor towards the development of a Global Wetlands Observing System (GWOS).