The theme of the 2017 South African wetlands “Indaba” from Monday the 16th to Thursday the 19th of October 2017 will be “Wetland Communities: Networking Towards Better Practice”. The Indaba will occur at the Wild Coast Sun, Port Edward on the southern coast of the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa.
This year the Indaba is looking not only to the wetlands of South Africa but to those further north in the SADC region and beyond. This is an important initiative. Wetlands across Africa are declining in extent and quality, and lessons shared at the Indaba can assist the work of wetland practitioners across the continent. Experience of wetland management in South Africa over the last three decades can help with the management of, and capacity development needed for wetlands further north. Wetlands typically support not only rich and productive biodiversity but are vital for human communities and livelihoods-ecosystems of natural wealth that are often overlooked or underestimated in development decisions, or in the encroachment and conversion of wetlands in the interest of short-term gains over longer term sustainable use.
Building an effective network of practitioners and sharing experience is essential for wise use of wetlands. Relying on formal protections of international policies such as the fine words of the Ramsar Convention is not enough because in the face of increasing needs for food security or catchment-wide water provision arguing the case in the interest of small, or subsistence level, stakeholders or local compared with national interests rarely wins the day. However sharing experiences, co-designing management strategies and building awareness of the economic and social value of wetlands increasing builds the case for the sustainable use of wetlands. So if you have story for better local wetland management, or through e.g. thinking before you drain, or enhancing wetland value, join us at the South African Wetlands Indaba 2017.
Abstracts for short presentations can be submitted till 31st July through the website http://nwi17.sawetlands.org/