The Ramsar 'Toolkit': Handbooks for the Wise Use of Wetlands


Handbook 4: Integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management


Case studies on integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management

The Convention on Wetlands formally identified the need to integrate wetlands into river basin management at the 6th Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP6) in 1996 through Resolution VI.23 on Ramsar and water. This Resolution recognized "the important hydrological functions of wetlands, including groundwater recharge, water quality improvement and flood alleviation, and the inextricable link between water resources and wetlands" and realised the "the need for planning at the river basin scale which involves integration of water resource management and wetland conservation". The Strategic Plan for 1997-2002, approved at COP6, urged the Contracting Parties to "to integrate conservation and wise use of wetlands into decision-making on land use, groundwater management, catchment/river basin and coastal zone planning". However, no clear guidelines were available at that time to assist the Parties in this direction.

With financial support from the Ramsar Convention Bureau and the Department for International Development of the U.K., the Global Environment Network was commissioned to develop appropriate guidelines for consideration at the 7th Conference of the Contracting Parties, San José, Costa Rica, in 1999. These were adopted as Resolution VII.18 Guidelines for integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management and its associated Annex at the Conference.

In developing the guidelines, the Project Leaders, Mr Faizal Parish and Ms Suzana Mohkeri, made full use of a number of case studies. The Bureau has incorporated the guidelines in Handbook 4, Integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management, of the Ramsar handbook series, and has made use of six of these case studies to illustrate the principles and concepts within the guidelines.

The case studies

The full texts of the six case studies used in the Handbook are available to be downloaded (in Word 6 for Windows 95 format) and are listed below by country/region in alphabetic order. All case studies are available in English only. (Note that a seventh case study, on Hortobágy National Park, Hungary, is included in its entirety in the Handbook.)

The views expressed in the case studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ramsar Convention, its Standing Committee or the Ramsar Convention Bureau.

Africa: Some problems and constraints in integrated water resources management in Africa by S.M.K. Donkor and Yilma E. Wolde, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Australia: Optimising the use of wetland benefits in river basin management: a case study from the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia by K. A. Ritchie and R. F. James, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Benalla, Australia.

Brazil: Conservation plan for the Upper Paraguay River Basin by the Ministry of Environment, Water Resources and the Legal Amazon, Brazil.

Federated States of Micronesia: Watershed planning and management: Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia by Christopher Dahl and Bill Raynor, published in Asia-Pacific Viewpoint 37:235-253, 1996.

India: Integrated wetland and river basin management - a case study of Loktak Lake by Dr C. L. Trisal, Wetlands International-South Asia.

South Africa: Wetland Conservation and Rehabilitation as Components of Integrated Catchment Management in the Mgeni Catchment, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa by G.P.W. Jewitt and D.C. Kotze, University of Natal, South Africa.

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