The projects will show how better management of wetland areas can help sustain livelihoods of the local people, while safeguarding the important values of wetlands such as fresh water supply and rich areas of biodiversity. Financial support for the projects comes from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
All the projects are implemented by partnerships of locally based organisations from the conservation and development sectors. They will work in wetland areas along side local communities, government authorities and other organisations. They will also raise awareness of the need for improved wetland management and protection at national and international levels.
The following projects are being supported:
Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park; Kwa Zulu-Natal, South-Africa. Currently, small farmers struggle to make a living by converting the fragile peatswamp forests of this area. This is causing rapid degradation of these threatened wetlands. If this process were to continue it would result in a lose-lose situation in which the forest vegetation will have disappeared and local people having no resources upon which to sustain their livelihoods. Loss of this rare wetland habitat will also reduce the area’s values for tourism, biodiversity and water supply. The project will work with the local communities to develop alternative livelihood strategies and sustainable agricultural practices to provide a way out of poverty and safeguard the wetland area.
Kimana Wetland System in Southern Kenya. This wetland is critical to three large Maasai pastoralist communities occupying some 300,000 hectares of land. The area is also an important wildlife corridor especially for elephants linking two world-famous national parks. These areas are under severe pressure as an increasing part of the wetland is cultivated for agricultural purposes. Unplanned conversion of the wetland system to cultivation is leading to soil salinisation and fertility loss, increasing conflict between farming, livestock and wildlife, and threatens to result in a lose-lose-lose situation. The project will work closely in close cooperation with the Maasai, other stakeholders and local planning authorities to develop an improved management system that balances use between different land use types and players
Chimu and Simlemba wetlands in Zambia and Malawi. The livelihoods of many thousands of people in northern Zambia and Malawi depend for critical contributions on the use of seasonal wetlands, of which those in Chimu and Simlemba are examples. They provide water, seasonal gardening areas, grazing land and reed harvesting opportunities. Because of a lack of integrated planning the wetlands are heavily exploited by some sectors and large parts are being completely transformed into cultivated areas and are consequently loosing their rich biodiversity and water storage capacity. This project will develop a more optimal and sustainable shared use of the area.
Inner Niger Delta, Mali. The Inner Niger Delta is a huge floodplain wetland providing livelihoods for over one million people. Combined human pressures, water diversion schemes, deforestation, as well as climate impacts are resulting in acute food shortages and is jeopardizing the balance of the ecosystem and biodiversity values. The project will work with local communities and authorities to improve management and restoration of the natural resources of the area. Through the use of micro-credit schemes and other innovative financial mechanisms such as ‘Bio-rights’link local people will be financially supported when restoring ecosystem services for the benefit of the whole region.
Berbak-Sembilang, Sumatra, Indonesia. This wetland area consists of two adjacent national parks with mangrove, freshwater swamp and peatland forests bordering the Sumatran coast. It provides many values for local people and the regional economy like fisheries, freshwater, timber and non-timber forest products. However, the peatlands are heavily degraded, and their natural capacity to store carbon is significantly being diminished. This is particularly problematic given the increased carbon emissions resulting from recent deforestation, drainage and fires which contributes significantly to global climate change. This project also aims to use a ‘Bio-rights’ approach link: local people will be rewarded when taking action to achieve sustainable peatland management. These actions of local people will support the whole region and even the global environment by reducing carbon emission and preventing the loss of globally threatened species.
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