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Sustainable development and land planning in the Parana Delta

The Parana Delta wetlands in Argentina are under pressure from the extraction of natural resources, infrastructure development, large-scale livestock farming and agriculture. This is threatening the wetlands ecosystem and traditional livelihoods that rely on artisanal farming and fishing in the delta. To overcome these challenges, we are working with strategic regional partners to develop sustainable solutions that rely on a scientific knowledge base and best management practices.


Action Description:

The Problem

The Parana Delta wetlands in Argentina are under pressure from the extraction of natural resources, infrastructure development, large-scale livestock farming and agriculture. This is threatening the wetlands ecosystem and traditional livelihoods that rely on artisanal farming and fishing in the delta. To overcome these challenges, we are working with strategic regional partners to develop sustainable solutions that rely on a scientific knowledge base and best management practices.

We aim to contribute to the sustainable development of the Parana Delta through participatory and responsible management of wetland ecosystems and building the capacities of civil society and community-based organisations. Our work is guided by 5 objectives:

 

 

Where we work 

The Parana Delta occupies nearly 17,000km2 in the lower part of the La Plata Basin, in the provinces of Buenos Aires (15% of the area), Santa Fe (5%) and Entre Rios (80%). Its complex water cycle is characterised by periodic flooding of the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers and moon and eolic tides of De La Plata River, sometimes so intense that it has serious consequences for biota and local people. The delta supports a great variety of natural resources and the livelihoods of around 20,000 people, who mainly depend on the wetlands’ resources and environmental services.

Aim of our work 

We aim to contribute to the sustainable development of the Parana Delta through participatory and responsible management of wetland ecosystems and building the capacities of civil society and community-based organisations. Our work is guided by 5 objectives:

  • To generate a scientific basis for good practices and policies which conserve and better manage the Parana Delta wetlands.
  • To influence public and sectorial policies for wetlands conservation and wise use at local, provincial and national levels.
  • To increase local community capacity and stakeholder commitment for wetlands conservation and wise use.
  • To mainstream wetland conservation in the RTRS (Roundtable on Responsible Soy) and in other political processes at the national and regional level.
  • To increase local capacities to adopt ecosystem-based climate change adaptation practices.

Our approach 

We seek to raise awareness on the importance of Parana Delta wetlands at different levels. Some activities are directed towards generating a knowledge base, including:

  • The valuation of local wetland resources
  • Guidelines for improving the sustainability of economic activities
  • Mapping large-scale urbanization
  • Assessing soybean cultivation impacts on wetlands and water resources

Ultimately, this knowledge will be used to influence policies, such as better valuing wetlands goods and services and improving land-tenure. This information will also be used to develop sustainable practice guidelines for agricultural producers and communities. Workshops with local groups and the development of a network for exchanging information, experiences and lessons learned will increase the capacity of civil society to advocate for better land planning and policies that conserve wetlands in the region. 

We work in close relationship with the national environmental agency, as well as with local governments. We also work with local smallholders, many of whom are working towards maintaining wetlands goods and services. Our position and vision is shared in meetings, courses, workshops and conferences. 

Achievements

  • Trained local fishing communities on best environmental practices and how to add value to their products;
  • Performed an assessment of gender issues;
  • Empowered local CSOs to advocate for sustainable urbanisation in the Parana Delta;
  • Contributed to the national Roundtable for Responsible Soy (RTRS) standard and participated in the Pesticide Working Group on soybean cultivation impacts over wetlands and water;
  • Developed new tools to better value the goods and services produced by wetlands in the Parana Delta in order to better influence national and local policies;
  • Developed an expanded knowledge base of local conflicts, land tenure and stakeholders within the Parana Delta region that will be used to inform future regional land planning;
  • Provided our recommendations, reports, and even support and training to different stakeholders (local and national government, agricultural producers, other CSOs), better positioning our organisation.


Action Partners:

We have key partnerships and cooperate with other organisations with expertise in the Parana Delta region, including both the academic, technical sectors and NGOs: