Case studies on wetlands and poverty reduction


Request for case-studies that demonstrate links between wetlands conservation and poverty reduction of local communities

IWMI has been contracted by Wetlands International (WI) to identify existing lessons and best practices in creating mutually supportive links between human well-being and wetlands management with respect to poverty reduction of local communities and wetlands conservation. This study forms part of WI's Wetlands and Poverty Reduction Project (WPRP) that seeks to influence policy and practice at all levels to enhance the recognition of this people-ecosystem interconnection. In addition to the aforementioned study, the WPRP currently supports five demonstration projects (four in Africa and one in Indonesia) that further explore these linkages by addressing local livelihoods - conservation conflicts.

The lessons learned from the five demonstration projects and the IWMI review of other similar case studies will be shared by WI with the broader conservation and development communities. Underlying these objectives is the belief that there needs to be closer collaboration between conservation and development actors who may often work in common areas without always realizing the interdependence of the issues they seek to resolve. It is thus hoped that the compilation, synthesis and sharing of lessons learned will demonstrate both the need for a more cohesive approach to addressing the conservation-development nexus and provide insights, in the form of lessons and best practices, on how various challenges could be approached.

IWMI's study of lessons and best practices will primarily use case-studies selected using the criteria listed below. Whilst no single case-study is likely to represent all the criteria, it is hoped that the criteria will generate case-studies that reflect the diversity in context faced by conservation and development practitioners. We also wish to emphasize that although some of the case-studies may well be projects implemented by external parties, we are also interested in including examples of community-led initiatives that have emerged from the local context.

The criteria for selecting case studies are:

1. Integration of wetlands conservation and poverty reduction of communities living within or adjacent to the site
2. Existence of natural resource-based livelihood activities (the project/initiative should not focus entirely on the conservation needs, but should also involve the livelihoods activities linked to the wetland)
3. Size of population dependent on wetlands (examples of high and low dependencies to look at their different implications)
4. Size of wetland (examples of small and large wetlands to look at their different implications)
5. Land tenure - state, communal, private land ownership (examples of each will broaden the lessons in terms of their relevance)
6. Legal status - Protected Area (PA) versus non-PA (as for criteria five)
7. Management - State versus community versus private management (as for criteria 5)
8. Project duration - 1-2 years …5…10 or more years (examples of short and longer initiatives will help explore the role of time in understanding change processes)
9. Rural - urban setting (at least one example of urban wetlands is desired)
10. Geographic location - Africa, Asia, South America (focus mainly in developing-country contexts)

We thus write to enquire whether you have any such projects/programmes to offer as a case study or know of such initiatives managed by others to whom you could refer us. Other practical aspects that may be relevant in this regard include:

  • Project ended or near completion
  • Willingness to share knowledge and information - both the successes and less successful aspects as learning opportunities
  • Availability of documentation on the case study

As we are contracted to provide a report of our findings by end May 2007, we would be grateful for your response at your earliest convenience (preferably no later than 15 February 2007). When sending your response to me, please also copy my colleague Mr. Sanjiv de Silva (

We hope you will contribute to making this a productive exercise from which practical lessons can be drawn and made available to a broad range of actors (e.g. policy makers at national and international levels, development and conservation NGOs and practitioners and donors), to influence the way each group approaches the better management of natural resources in the pursuit of poverty reduction.

Thank you,

With kind regards,

Dr. Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu (Project Leader)
Researcher - Livelihoods Systems

Mailing Address: P O Box 2075
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Location: 127, Sunil Mawatha
Pelawatta, Battaramulla. Sri Lanka.
Tel: 94-11 2787404, 2784080
Fax: 94-11 2786854

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