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Towards integrating wetland biodiversity conservation with water and agricultural management in Ukraine. A pilot project in the South Bug River Basin

The goal of this project is to develop the foundations for integrating wetland biodiversity conservation into water related sectoral policies in Ukraine based on ecological network development and civil society engagement in a pilot project in the South Bug River Basin.


Action Description:

Background: Ukrainian wetlands are important habitats for European biodiversity and form essential elements of Ukraine’s ecological network. However wetlands and their biodiversity, including migratory waterbirds are being degraded due to unsustainable water management and agricultural practices. A lack of information on wetlands and the ecological networks that they depend on is contributing strongly to this.

 

The situation is being compounded by low awareness of the issues in civil society and their resulting weak engagement in the policy and planning processes that could help to improve the situation. However, water and environmental policy in Ukraine is moving towards more integrated approaches to water and land management which gives an opportunity to include biodiversity concerns in planning and changed implementation and practice. Through a pilot project in the South Bug River basin and the synthesis and dissemination of lessons learned the project will seek to capitalise on the opportunity to provide the basis to integrate wetland biodiversity information and concerns into emerging planning processes.

Project goal: To develop the foundations for integrating wetland biodiversity conservation into water related sectoral policies in Ukraine based on ecological network development and civil society engagement in a pilot project in the South Bug River Basin.

Project objectives and activities:

Objective A: To develop an approach that provides the foundations for integrating wetland biodiversity conservation into river basin management, that is endorsed by regional, basin and civil society stakeholder organisations.
Activities:

  • A1. Develop the basis for a South Bug River Basin Strategic Action Plan (SAP) particularly using conducting consultative regional workshops in four oblasts.
  • A2. Produce a South Bug River Basin SAP incorporating econet development, integration of biodiversity concerns in agriculture and integrated river basin management.
  • A3. Hold a South Bug River Basin conference for regional (oblast) authorities, scientists, NGOs, farmers, water, land and nature protection managers, mass media.
  • A4. Produce a guidance document for national, regional and basin level authorities in the water, agriculture and environment.
  • A5. Copy and disseminate drafts of the SAP and guidance document.

Objective B: To develop an ecological network in the South Bug River Basin to further conservation planning and to demonstrate the value of this tool to wetland biodiversity conservation in integrated river basin management planning.
Activities:

  • B1. Undertake targeted field research to support econet development.
  • B2. Develop an indicative map of econet for the South Bug River basin (meridional and latitudinal).
  • B3. Prepare scientific backgrounds for at least 8 new protected areas.

Objective C: To develop the capacity of the members of the Ukrainian Rivers Network to engage in integrated river basin management planning.
Activities:

  • C1. Conduct a two day training course for NGOs addressed two main topics: participation in the development of the SAP and planning and implementing a public awareness campaign.
  • C2. Conduct an annual meeting of Ukrainian Rivers Network to exchange experience of South Bug Basin Group.
  • C3. Share the lessons learned and results of the South Bug River Basin project on the Web-site of the Ukrainian Rivers Network.

Objective D: To conduct a public awareness campaign in the South Bug River Basin as a demonstration of how to sensitise, inform and engage civil society in issues related to wetland biodiversity conservation and necessary changes in policy and practice.
Activities:

  • D1. Conduct a contest of children’s drawings and essays ‘We live in the South Bug River Basin’.
  • D2. Prepare and hold a movable photos exhibition in at least 20 settlements.
  • D3. Prepare and disseminate a generally accessible information brochure and press-releases about the Basin of South Bug River for raising awareness of key target groups.
  • D4. Publish and disseminate a colour environmental atlas of the South Bug River Basin.
  • D5. Conduct one-day round tables at the local level in at least 20 settlements.
  • D6. Produce and disseminate a CD with outputs from the project.

Project target groups: National, regional, basin and local stakeholders; Ministry for Environmental Protection of Ukraine; nature managers and researchers; administrators of protected areas; State Committee for Water Management; South Bug River Basin Organisation; Ministry of Agriculture; Oblast State Administrations; local authorities; teachers; members of the Ukrainian Rivers Network.

Project outputs: An innovative approach to integrating wetland biodiversity concerns and civil society engagement in water resource management for use by stakeholders in nature, water and agriculture management. An approach ecological network development in a river basin that can be used to integrate water resource management and conservation planning. A model for civil society engagement in water resource management built on awareness raising and engagement in participatory processes. Strengthened capacity for civil society to engage in river basin level planning. Established basis for integration of wetland conservation in water resource management in the South Bug River Basin.

Project outcomes: An innovative approach to integrating wetland biodiversity concerns and civil society engagement in water resource management for use by stakeholders in nature, water and agriculture management. An approach ecological network development in a river basin that can be used to integrate water resource management and conservation planning. A model for civil society engagement in water resource management built on awareness raising and engagement in participatory processes. Strengthened capacity for civil society to engage in river basin level planning. Established basis for integration of wetland conservation in water resource management in the South Bug River Basin.

Publications:

Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management, Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Agriculture in the Southern Bug River Basin
The Environmental Atlas of the Southern Bug River Basin
The ‘Bog’ (God) River Basin
Methodical Recommendations on Integrated Water Resource Management, Wetland Biodiversity Conservation, Econet Development and Organic Agriculture

 

More information on project results in Ukrainian and in English.


Action Partners:
  • Ministry for Environmental Protection of Ukraine;
  • State Committee for Water Management of Ukraine;
  • South Bug Basin Organisation of the State Committee for Water Management of Ukraine;
  • Institute of Zoology and Institute of Botany of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine;
  • Members of Ukrainian Rivers Network.