The Community Wetlands Forum (CWF), a member-based forum dedicated to community-led conservation and the wise use of wetlands had Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, launch the forum as an independent CLG – company limited by guarantee.
Operating as a special interest group under the auspices of Irish Rural Link the forum now has a membership of over 40 community and not for profit groups across Ireland leading projects to promote and protect their local wetlands.
Focusing on promoting awareness, understanding, and collaborative action to empower communities to safeguard wetland habitats across Ireland, the CWF has actively engaged local communities, environmental organisations, government agencies, and academic institutions in its efforts to support the protection, management, and wise use of wetlands for a sustainable future.
Innovative projects across 23 protected or designated sites, covering over 2275 Hectares of wetlands are already underway supported in a cross-alliance manner from various state agencies. Voluntary members also engage in sustainable management and conservation – maintaining walkways on or near wetland sites using 58 conservation measures, with 20 walking trails at various sites, providing great physical and mental well-being benefits.
This is one of the most transformative and innovative policy changes in environmental management and landscape preservation, in enabling bottom of management and development of our wetlands in Europe.
‘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”, stated Minister Noonan T.D.
“We are excited about the future, and launching this next phase couldn’t come at a more important time for wetlands, which play a vital role in fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity”, says CWF founding Director and longstanding member of Creative Rathangan Meitheal (working to influence local wetland development) – Laurence Fullam.
“The decade of growth could not have been achieved without the support of Irish Rural Link and various funding partners, now empowering 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”, explains Mícheál Callaghan , Development Officer with the Forum.
The launch of the new CLG was attended by over 60 delegates, from the membership, the pioneer Project Steering Group, Enthusiasts and Environmentalists at the Hudon Bay Hotel, Athlone earlier this week.
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