World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, aimed at raising awareness of the critical role wetlands ecosystems play in terms of contributing to global biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, as well to economies all over the world.
It's estimated that approximately 90% of the world's wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and that we are losing them three times faster than we are forests.
“Wetlands are amongst the ecosystems with the highest rates of decline, loss and degradation,” John said.
“Indicators of current negative trends in global biodiversity and ecosystem functions are projected to continue in response to unsustainable production and consumption, and adverse impacts of climate change."
The South Antrim MLA also welcomed progress on peatland restoration but highlighted that we are falling significantly behind other jurisdictions and that restoration is critically underfunded in Northern Ireland.
“We to encourage actions to conserve and restore such an intrinsic part of our natural landscape. The stakes have never been higher,” he added.
“We must wake up to the reality that nature is essential in the fight for 1.5 degrees. Yet our wetlands, grasslands, peatlands, and soils are at risk.
“It is essential we scale up ambition to protect and restore our precious natural world.”