Outside, the snow fell fast, while inside, participants watched sunny scenes of the Mekong roll past.
The Wetlands Alliance presented its work at a civil society meeting in Berlin in January 2014 on ‘Embedding the Environment in the Post-2015 Agenda,’ supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The agenda for discussion included the experience of the Wetlands Alliance in addressing the twin aims of poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.
Saw Tin Oo, from the Wetlands Alliance partner ECODEV, recalls the difficulties of the early days of recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. “Many people died, and many homes were destroyed,” he said. The Wetlands Alliance has been supporting ECODEV’s work in Myanmar’s vulnerable delta region since 2012.
Intense discussions marked the two days of discussions about the future of the Wetlands Alliance, at the ‘Celebration and Dissemination Workshop’ from 20-21 January 2014 in Bangkok, with 34 participants from 19 partner organizations. The workshop featured many highlights as partners reviewed achievements since the Alliance was established.
In her opening remarks, Anne-Charlotte Malm, Sida, said that Sweden’s contribution of US$15 million over eight years to the Wetlands Alliance has been an important part of Sweden’s support for regional initiatives in Southeast Asia, and has helped to address concerns about inequality. Many participants affirmed the participatory, bottom-up approach of the Alliance, saying its activities are demand-driven and have a high level of community ownership.
Several partners indicated they have already secured new funding sources or have begun to do so. Alliance partners agreed to continue cooperation to seek further sources of funding for local partners.
Next steps will include a smaller meeting to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize working arrangements among partners, and to continue knowledge sharing and communication, through the Wetlands Alliance website, as well as in other ways.