Geneva, 23 August 2013
It is increasingly recognised that wetlands should be managed to meet a wide range of interacting environmental, social and economic objectives.
Water and wetland management have historically focused on individual management objectives mainly aimed at maximising provisioning ecosystem services (e.g. agricultural production, fisheries). This approach has led in many cases to an impoverishment in ecosystems’ capabilities of delivering regulating, supporting and cultural ecosystem services.
However, it is being increasingly recognised that wetlands should be managed to meet a wide range of interacting environmental, social and economic objectives. A ‘multi-objective’ management results in provision of a wider range of ecosystem services, including fishery preservation, improved water quality, flood control, carbon sequestration and recreation, in parallel with improved biodiversity.
The design of multi-objective water and wetland policies needs to build synergies between different levels of policy making at the international, national, local level, and must engage different categories of stakeholders (e.g. individual land and water users, communities, policy-makers, local and regional managers, companies, NGOs) . Furthermore, it is important to combine different instruments and management approaches; including improved site management, regulation and spatial planning, property rights and MBIs.
In order to facilitate this task, approaches such as Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) have been developed in recent years as innovative approaches to water and coastal management. Similarly in lowland rural floodplains, management trade-offs can be found between biodiversity protection and modern agriculture . Conversely, it is also important to recognise synergies between policies and objectives – such as the role of wetlands in recharging soil water tables which can supply water to agricultural users and the role of improved soil management in improving crop yields and reducing off farm impacts, including on wetlands.
Source: IUCN (2011)
Extracted from the report: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands, section 4.2 Wetlands and integrated water resources management.
The report presents insights on critical water-related ecosystem services and the wider ecosystem services from wetlands, in order to encourage additional policy momentum, business commitment, and investment in the conservation, restoration, and wise use of wetlands.