By Robert Irven
Today we mark the celebration and awareness of World Wetlands Day, established by the 1971 signing of the Convention of Wetlands (also known as the Ramsar Convention). This day not only marks the signing of the convention 46 years ago in Iran, but also serves to bring a spotlight to the importance of not only wetlands themselves, but the conservation efforts that must be continued in order to maintain these special ecosystems which often protect our cities and the millions of people and wildlife that depend on them.
Here at the Center for Social Development Studies, we have invested considerable time and resources in the study and advancement of wetlands research and conservation projects, and strongly believe that the future of healthy wetlands and their benefits to society requires the cooperation of knowledge sharing and work between civil society and the government. Wetlands, particularly those located in Thailand and around Southeast Asia contain a great deal of biodiversity, some not found anywhere else on earth, but due to the increase of recent development projects, these special ecosystems are at great risk of disappearing altogether if more focus and work is not done to protect them.
In 2014 CSDS kicked off the RECOVER project, aimed at undertaking “knowledge co-production” research in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, in order to contribute towards the recovery and more inclusive ecological governance of wetlands degraded by large water infrastructure and associated agro-ecological systems and livelihoods. We consider “knowledge co-production” to be the dynamic interaction of multiple actors, each with their own types of knowledge, that co-produces new usable knowledge specific to the social, cultural, and political context and that can influence decision-making and actions on-the-ground. For more about the RECOVER project, please visit the page here or read more about our field research case study. Download our related policy brief (pictured right) on recovery of wetlands, agroecological farming and livelihoods in Southeast Asia here.
For more information about World Wetlands Day and additional downloadable resources, please visit the official website.