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Challenges to the integration of wetlands into IWRM

By Lisa-Maria Rebelo a,*, Robyn Johnston b, Thomas Hein c, Gabriele Weigelhofer c,
Tom DHaeyer d, Bakary Kone e, Jan Cools f

Wetlands are too often perceived as standalone elements and are poorly integrated into river basin management. The Ramsar Convention recognizes the critical linkage between wetlands, water and river basin management; the governments that are party to the Convention have committed to conserving their wetlands within a framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The ‘‘Critical Path’’ approach and related guidance have been adopted by Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention in order to effectively integrate wetland conservation and management into river basin management planning and decision-making. However, despite international acceptance of the approach, it is not widely implemented. This paper provides one of the first case study based assessments of the Critical Path approach. The analysis of two contrasting Ramsar sites is presented in order to better understand the barriers to implementation in different development contexts. These are the Lobau wetland in Austria, where management institutions and regulatory frameworks are highly developed; and the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, where the capacity to implement IWRM is less evolved. A planning approach is proposed which involves structured and transparent methods for assessing ecosystem services and institutional capacity, and is suitable as a tool for identifying, prioritizing and negotiating trade-offs in ecosystem services and improving livelihoods. Based on the analysis, two main barriers to implementation are identified; mismatch between local and national or basin level priorities, and a lack of recognition of the ecosystem services provided by wetlands. # 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Integrating human health into wetland management

By Jan Cools a,b,*, Mori Diallo c, Eline Boelee d, Stefan Liersch e,
Dries Coertjens f, Veronique Vandenberghe g, Bakary Kone c

Livelihood and water-related diseases are strongly linked to wetland management. The majority of wetland stakeholders in the Inner Niger Delta, Mali considered human health and sanitation the most important criteria of a list of challenges and water-related pressures. Yet, a methodology to integrate health risks and opportunities into wetland management plans has previously not been proposed, despite the clear links and substantial real-life challenges. In this paper, a framework is presented to do this in data-poor context structured around the process to evaluate and prioritise the appropriateness of management options to improve human health.

In the data-poor context of the Inner Niger Delta, the selection of criteria and indicators, and the scoring of management options against these criteria and indicators has been done by a panel of stakeholders. Criteria were chosen to reflect the often difficult conditions in which management options need to be implemented and thus focused on the effectiveness and feasibility of management options to reduce the disease burden and the two major pathways for environmental disease transmission, namely contaminated water (pathogens) and stagnant water (parasites and organisms that can transmit them) at three wetland scales: urban areas, urban wetland and rural wetland. The feasibility for the sustainable implementation of a management option refers to the required institutional capacity and is scored by means of the concept of ‘‘adaptive capacity’’.

The presented framework uses rapid assessment tools and simplified scoring methods and proved useful in explaining issues across sectors and scales, to promote mutual understanding and to achieve an integrated assessment of the appropriateness of management options.

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Challenges to the integration of wetlands into IWRM: The case of the Inner Niger Delta (Mali) and the Lobau Floodplain (Austria)

The authors recognize that wetlands are poorly integrated in river basin management. Governments that endorsed the Ramsar Convention recognise the importance of the wetlands in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) using the "critical path" approach but is not widely implemented.

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Storm Surge Reduction by Mangroves

Mangroves can reduce storm surge water levels by slowing the flow of water and reducing surface waves. Therefore mangroves can potentially play a role in coastal defence and disaster risk reduction, either alone or alongside other risk reduction measures such as early warning systems and engineered coastal defence structures (e.g. sea walls).

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Population trends for coastal migratory Waterbirds in the East Atlantic Flyway:

This poster displays how - as part of a broader initiative to strengthen the conservation of migratory waterbirds - the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (in the framework of Wadden Sea World Heritage activities) and the Conservation of Migratory Birds project (BirdLife International and Wetlands International) are improving the monitoring of waterbirds in especially the coastal zone of West-Africa.

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