Freshwater Challenge

Freshwater Challenge David Clode (Unsplash)

The largest river and wetland restoration initiative in history was launched at UN Water Conference 


A coalition of six countries, namely Colombia, DR Congo, Ecuador, Gabon, Mexico, and Zambia, have launched the Freshwater Challenge, the largest ever initiative to restore degraded rivers, lakes, and wetlands to tackle the world’s worsening water, climate, and natural crises.


The coalition aims to restore 300,000km of rivers and 350 million hectares of wetlands by 2030, with freshwater ecosystems providing a wealth of benefits to people and nature, including mitigating and adapting to climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


A third of the world’s wetlands have been lost over the past 50 years, with rivers and lakes the most degraded ecosystems in the world, pushing fish populations, many of which are vital for community food security, to the brink.


The initiative calls on all governments to commit to clear targets in their updated National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, National Determined Contributions, and National Implementation Plan for the SDGs to urgently restore healthy freshwater ecosystems.


The Freshwater Challenge is a country-driven initiative with an inclusive, collaborative approach to implementation, where governments and their partners will co-create freshwater solutions with indigenous people, local communities, and other stakeholders.