Wetlands International welcomes the transition towards the sustainable production and consumption of bioenergy which delivers substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) savings compared to fossil fuels. As an organisation with valuable experience in wetland conservation, restoration and the sustainable use of their resources for people, climate and nature worldwide, we suggest a set of recommendations for inclusion in the European Parliament’s position on the second reading of the Indirect Land-Use Changes (ILUC) file (procedure file 2012/0288(COD)).
This joint NGO letter was sent to the Members of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament to urge them to raise the environmental, climate and social ambition of the Indirect Land-Use Change (ILUC) file. The land-use changes triggered by the expansion of biofuel crops are linked to greenhouse gas emissions (including significant peatland emissions) and other negative impacts on people and the environment.
The Pantanal, in the heart of South America, on the border of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is the largest freshwater wetland in the world. It has an enormous biodiversity and the people who live there mainly live from fishing and tourism. The Pantanal has a water regulating function for an enormous area to the La Plata in Argentina, some 1,500 kilometers away. 'The whole Pantanal, not just the half', supported by Both ENDS, IUCN and Wetlands International reviews the current developments with regard to soy production in the region to create an informed debate. The ultimate goal is to achieve agreements and commitments to stop buying soy from the Pantanal, as already exist on soy from other areas, such as that around the Amazon.
Since the middle of the 20th century, humans have significantly altered the hydrological and hydraulic system of European rivers, with (hydropower) dams, dredging, rectifications, channelling, etc. One of the most damaging effects of these activities results from constructing crossing works over rivers (dams, waterwheels, bridge foundations, etc), which frequently impede or limit the free movement of fish fauna.
The solution to the migratory problem caused by such obstacles is to either demolish the obstacle or to construct an additional structure which facilitates the upstream/downstream movement: a fish pass (commonly known as a “fish ladder”).
Understanding the economic and social value of ecosystem services in a river system can help prioritise river restoration projects. Currently, public administrations rarely consider river restoration projects as investments. Funding for restoring natural capital is substantially lower than the funding available to build and maintain built infrastructure. By reframing river restoration projects as restoration of natural capital it is possible to attract the financial resources needed to restore river systems and better integrate environmental and social values.