Rivers and wetlands are the frontlines of the climate and nature crises
The important role of healthy freshwater ecosystems has been recognized in key international development frameworks, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
However, current international approaches to water are not helping countries achieve the targets set out in these global frameworks fast enough.
As a result, rivers and wetlands are still undervalued and overlooked, and their rapid loss is undermining hard-won development gains and global efforts to tackle the climate and nature crises.
WHAT IS THE FRESHWATER CHALLENGE?
The Freshwater Challenge (FWC) is a country-led initiative that aims to support, integrate and accelerate the restoration of 300,000 km of degraded rivers and 350 million hectares of degraded wetlands by 2030, as well as conserve intact freshwater ecosystems.
The Challenge aims to substantiate, integrate and accelerate targeted interventions for rivers and wetlands, connecting these with national plans and strategies. It will increase the overall investment into the restoration and conservation of freshwater ecosystems and substantially increase the social and economic returns on those investments.
By doing so, the FWC will support countries to reach their international commitments on climate, biodiversity, restoration, land degradation, Disaster Risk Reduction and SDGs, aligned to ambitions for a sustainable economic development.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
To deliver freshwater ecosystem restoration and conservation at scale by 2030, the Challenge requires the active support of all actors involved in water-related activities across all sectors – including agriculture, infrastructure, finance, energy, urban planning, conservation, and many more.
Only through the combined efforts of all stakeholders working at different levels, from high-level policy reforms to local grassroots projects will rivers and wetlands be revived and conserved.
The Freshwater Challenge is a country-led initiative to restore 300,000 km of degraded rivers and 350 million hectares of degraded wetlands by 2030 as well as conserve intact freshwater ecosystems.