The 8th International training of trainers course on wetland management comes to a successful end

The 8th International training of trainers course on wetland management comes to a successful end

12 July 2011

The annual 3-week course in the Netherlands on the International training of trainers on wetland management has just finished. The Secretariat’s CEPA Programme Officer attended for the last few days, delivering a general presentation on the Convention as well as some useful Ramsar materials, and forming part of the panel of ‘judges’ for the final presentations of participants on their team projects, each based on the work of the teams during their 3-week training.

Participants and trainers (Centre for Development Innovation)

First launched in 2004, this 3-week course endorsed by the Secretariat runs every year bringing up to 25 participants together in a practical learning process particularly focused on the facilitation of multistakeholder processes and curriculum development. Given the sectoral division of responsibilities in managing water and wetlands and the need to consider the impact of management outcomes on local stakeholders, the capacity to involve key stakeholders in management planning and implementation is an essential skill for those involved in wetland management. The course is diverse and required each participant to deliver a presentation on a wetland management case study from their own country, as well as work during the 3 weeks in teams, each team selecting one case study for more in-depth analysis and development. Included also was a week-long visit to Oosterschelde, an estuary in Zeeland, to conduct a stakeholder study using a range of analytical tools including stakeholder interviews.

This year 18 participants from 15 countries attended the course, bringing with them diverse experiences in wetland management – some are involved directly in the Ramsar Administrative Authority within their country, some from NGOs, and some from universities where they teach wetland management courses.

Stakeholder interview by participants (Photo: Yong-Jiang)

This ‘hands-on’ course is run by the Centre for Development Innovation at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. A limited number of fellowships have been available most years through the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) and the MENA Scholarship Programme between them potentially providing funding for participants in 67 countries; these funders have been instrumental in making the attendance of many participants possible. Each year, some participants have been fortunate enough to come with funding from their governments and other institutions both private and public.

Using the RAAKS tool, one of several commonly used stakeholder analysis tools  (Photo Wande Maduhu Kema)

The course will run in its present format next year but then will continue with a slightly different focus which will bring positive benefits to Ramsar and wetlands. The course will likely be called the International training of trainers on integrated water resources management. This will bring together both the water and the wetland management sectors in a learning environment and give plenty of opportunity for understanding better how the other sector works – one of the key challenges for the Ramsar Convention in current times.

Information on the next Training of Trainers course is available here

Report by Sandra Hails, CEPA Programme Officer