14 October 2016
NGO Networks for Wetland Conservation
The World Wetland Network (WWN) is a global network of over 2,000 non-government organisations (NGOs) initiated at the Ramsar Conference of the Parties (COP) in South Korea, 2008. It arose from the need for NGOs to arrive at Ramsar meetings well prepared, and participate effectively. The network also supports members in their broader wetland conservation activities, making a positive contribution to delivery of the Ramsar Convention.
Australian Louise Duff was recently appointed Chair of the World Wetland Network. Louise is the Program Manager – Wetlands Catchments Coasts with Conservation Volunteers, and administers the Australian Wetland Network. She has been the Oceania representative to WWN for five years, working with the WWN management committee consisting of eight regional representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa, America and the Neo-tropics. Ms Duff attended Ramsar COP 11 in Romania and COP 12 in Uruguay, working with WWN to give smaller NGOs a voice in the proceedings.
In the lead-up to Ramsar COP 12, WWN conducted a survey of its members and the broader wetland conservation community. The survey overwhelmingly showed that NGOs are committed to Ramsar and want to do more. The creation and continued existence of WWN is testament to this. According to Ms. Duff, “WWN and the broader NGO community understand that human and financial resources for wetland conservation are scarce and that collaboration between the government, non-government and business sectors is critical to wetland conservation.” Developing a greater understanding of the role, the commitment and the potential of wetland NGOs is an important first step, said Ms. Duff.
Conservation Volunteers (CVA) endorsed Ms Duff to take up the chair, noting the close alignment between WWN’s commitment to support community-based wetland conservation with CVA’s partnership approach and practical achievements engaging up to 7,000 volunteers a year in nature conservation. CVA’s new Wetlands Catchments Coasts program managed by Ms Duff aims to conserve healthy and resilient wetlands, catchments and coasts for nature and people.
With the recent merger between WetlandCare Australia and Conservation Volunteers, CVA became host for the Secretariat of the Australian Wetland Network (AWN), also administered by Ms. Duff. AWN was formed in 1994 to facilitate input by Australian Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to the Ramsar Conference of Parties held in Brisbane in 1996. Since then its members have supported an ongoing role in wetland conservation, strategic planning, national reporting and policy. It is informally affiliated with the World Wetland Network.
AWN has 39 member organisations representing all states and is guided by a Reference Group with 6 members. It is supported by the NSW Government with funding through its Environmental Trust. New members for both the network itself and the Reference Group are welcome.
Program Manager – Wetlands Catchments Coasts
Secretary Australian Wetland Network
Chair World Wetland Network
M: 0432 688775