The Community Wetlands Forum (CWF), a member-based forum dedicated to community-led conservation and the wise use of wetlands, is proud to announce its establishment as a newly independent Company Limited by Guarantee, marking a significant milestone in its journey toward community-led wetland management. Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, will officially mark the significant milestone at a launch event in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, on 4 December at 11am.
In existence for over ten years, the CWF has a membership of over 40 community groups across Ireland leading projects to promote and protect their local wetlands. Initially formed under the umbrella of Irish Rural Link, the CWF has played a pivotal role in promoting awareness, understanding, and collaborative action to empower communities to safeguard wetland habitats across Ireland. Over the past decade, the CWF has actively engaged local communities, environmental organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions in its mission to support the protection, management, and wise use of wetlands for sustainable communities. Members of the CWF are undertaking projects across 23 protected or designated sites across Ireland, covering over 2275 Hectares of wetlands. As well as restoration and conservation initiatives, members of the CWF also have developed and are maintaining walkways on or near wetland sites, with 20 walking trails at member sites, providing great physical and mental well-being benefits.
Minister Noonan said:
‘It’s great to see the Community Wetlands Forum go from strength to strength in its ambition for community-led wetland management. Communities have a vital role to play in protecting nature. Initiatives such as this Forum bring communities together and enable them to play a leading role in the protection and safeguarding of our wetland habitats.”
“We are excited about the future, and this launch couldn’t come at a more important time for wetlands, which play a vital role in fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity”, says CWF Development Officer, Mícheál Callaghan.
The decision to transition from an initiative under Irish Rural Link to an independent CLG reflects the tremendous growth and impact of the Community Wetlands Forum comprising forty community groups. This growth would not have been achieved without the dedicated support of Irish Rural Link and our funding partners. The transition will empower the CWF to expand its reach, promote further capacity sharing among its members, and advocate for community engagement as a valued means of protecting and managing wetlands.
The Community Wetlands Forum invites everyone with an interest in wetland conservation and rural community development to join in celebrating its establishment as a newly independent CLG. For more information about the Community Wetlands Forum, its initiatives, and the upcoming launch event visit www.communitywetlandsforum.ie/events