GENEVA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The rapid loss of the world's wetlands must urgently be reversed by restoring vital ecosystems, the head of the Convention on Wetlands said here on Thursday.
Awareness on the issue must also be raised, Musonda Mumba, secretary general of the Convention on Wetlands, said on the occasion of World Wetlands Day.
Nearly 90 percent of the world's wetlands have been degraded or lost, Mumba said, meaning we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests.
"There is an urgency to raise global awareness on wetlands to arrest and reverse their rapid loss, and encourage actions to restore and conserve these vital ecosystems," she emphasized.
The world only has seven years left to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, she added.
The Convention called on individuals to make conscious choices to minimize their own impact on wetlands, to educate and activate others to get involved in wetland restoration, and join wetland restoration efforts locally.
Mumba recommended that governments and other stakeholders should create a national inventory of wetlands, set specific targets for wetland restoration, and promote good management practices.
Wetlands support critical ecosystems and biodiversity on earth, since 40 percent of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands. They are also vital to human life, as wetlands are not only crucial to agriculture and fisheries, but also act as water sources and purifiers, and protect our shores. In addition, wetlands are the planet's greatest natural carbon stores.