The Wetlands Contract is a voluntary governance tool, an innovative methodology for water and wetlands management. Based on the active participation of local stakeholders, its aim is to improve coordination and stimulate the effectiveness of the management and planning of protected wetlands in the Mediterranean. It consists of a series of shared, specific, and detailed commitments and actions. The Wetland Contracts take into account the problems and needs of the people, plants, and animals that live in, or benefit from, wetlands, either permanently or temporarily. Its objective is to ensure proper governance to protect wetlands and their surroundings.
The use of citizen participation tools for participatory processes is advised, wherever possible.
5-10 should be trained people on management tools and citizen participation processes, and on action plans and management in Natural Areas.
An estimation of the overall cost to set up and implement the Wetlands Contract is currently not available. The final cost will likely depend on factors such as the type and length of the course, the number of people to involve, and whether previous training was provided.
The Wetland Contract is composed of several elements: the legal and regulatory framework; the assessment of the wetland area; the development of alternative scenarios; stakeholders’ mapping; questionnaires; and a memorandum of understanding. The contract is based on a shared vision, an action plan and the legal framework. It consists of an agreement between the stakeholders.
It is built using a participatory process, through workshops and working groups on themes such as agriculture, hydrology, environment, and tourism, focusing on 3 strategic areas: governance; environment; and economic and social development.
Recommended implementation frequency
The implementation timeline of the Action Plan that supports a Wetland Contract is 5 years. The first phase, “Participation”, is divided into several consecutive steps: stakeholder mapping; preliminary diagnosis; memorandum of understanding; targeted diagnosis; and an assessment of alternatives. The second phase, “Negotiation”, is divided into two consecutive steps: specification of measures; and the adoption of the Wetland Contract.
The main challenges revolve around the need to involve all the relevant stakeholders and public authorities, to link the Wetlands Contract to government tenders, and to keep national authorities as “observers” and not necessarily as contract signatories. Moreover, in the implementing phase it is necessary to prioritise the activities and clearly identify dates, budgets, and responsibilities.
The main result of the Wetland Contracts is the improved effectiveness of wetland management through the active involvement and participation of all relevant stakeholders.
The Wetlands Contract may be adopted by any Mediterranean wetland.
Project contact: WETNET
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