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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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The Marshlands of Southern Iraq

This report is the result of a comparative analysis of the Marshlands of Southern Iraq to six other wetlands in the world. The study was carried out as input for the nomination process of the Marshlands of Southern Iraq as a World Heritage Site. 

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Migratory birds ‐ Connecting Wetlands and People

Migratory waterbirds depend on a range of secure sites during their annual migrations. This flyer outlines our programme to link site managers within the African-Eurasian flyway in order to develop more committed and connected human networks for the conservation of migratory species.

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River Talk Series: with Matthew Reddy, International RiverFoundation

Jane Madgwick sits down with Matthew Reddy, CEO of the International RiverFoundation to discuss the process and prestige of the 1st European Riverprize and the prospects for regional awards in the global south. This is one of the seven River Talk videos recorded at the European River Restoration Conference. For more information visit, or

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River Talk Series: with Alastair Driver, National Conservation Manager of the UK Environment Agency

Jane Madgwick sits down with Alastair Driver, National Conservation Manager of the UK Environment Agency to discuss the impact in London and the UK after the River Thames won the Internatioanl RiverPrize. Alastair highlights some of the current projects of the Environment Agency and what the future needs are. This is one of the seven River Talk videos recorded at the European River Restoration Conference in Vienna in September 2013. For more information visit,, or

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