September 6, 2000
The World’s Fresh
Water & Wetlands
in the 21st Century
Convener & Moderator
Dr. Wally N’Dow
Convening Chairman, State of the World Forum 2000
Secretary General, UN Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II
Secretary General, Ramsar Bureau, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
Janet N. Abramovitz
Senior Researcher, The Worldwatch Institute
Author, Imperiled Waters, Impoverished Future: The Decline of Freshwater Ecosystems
Dr. Frederick A. Swarts
Secretary General, World Conference on Preservation and Sustainable Development in the Pantanal
Senior Research Scientist, Waterland Research Institute
Editor, The Pantanal: Understanding and Preserving the World's Largest Wetland (Paragon House, 2000)
The Interreligious and International
Federation for World Peace, Inc.
The Waterland Research Institute for Water and Land Resources, Inc.
The State of the World "Forum 2000" was convened from September 4-10, 2000, at the New York Hilton and Towers. Among the co-chairs of the State of the World Forum are H.E. Oscar Arias (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Jane Goodall (Primatologist), Mikhail Gorbachev (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate), Ruud Lubbers (Chairman, World Wildlife Fund), Ted Turner (Vice Chairman, Time Warner, Inc.), and Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate). This session on "The World's Fresh Water and Wetlands in the 21st Century," took place on Wednesday, September 6. Dr. N'Dow, who served as the Convening Chair of the State of the World Forum 2000, also served as this session's Chair. Mr. Delmar Blasco addressed the overall state of the world's wetlands, and the role that the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance can and should play in helping to value and preserve these unique and valuable systems. Ms. Janet N. Abramovitz provided an overall assessment and perspective on the world's fresh water and on the challenges being faced with respect to our rivers, lakes, wetlands and also oceans during this twenty-first century. Dr. Frederick A. Swarts, in his paper titled "The State of the Pantanal: The World's Largest Wetland System in the 21st Century," provided a comprehensive overview of this extraordinarily large, valuable and diverse system, located in central-western Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay.