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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 island cattle-raising, bee-keeping and artisanal fishing. To overcome these challenges, we are working with strategic 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 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 (16.5% of the area), Santa Fe (1.5%) and Entre Rios (82%). Its complex water cycle is characterised by periodic flooding of the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers and moon and eolic tides of 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 24,000 people, who mainly depend on the wetlands’ resources and 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. This information will also be used to develop sustainable practice guidelines for 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 stakeholders, many of whom are working towards maintaining wetlands goods and services. Our position and vision is shared in meetings, courses, workshops and conferences. 

Achievements

  • Knowledge-base developed (wetland ecosystem services value, land tenure, embankment map, mega-urbanisations map, soy cultivation impacts on wetlands) contributing and quoted in local and regional policies;
  • Artisanal fishers of the Parana Delta trained on best fishing practices and how to add value to their products;
  • Livestock farmers of the Parana Delta committed to best practices and actively participating in the development of the manual on environmental management of island cattle-raising;
  • Local CSOs empowered to advocate and defend their rights against the expansion of mega-urbanisations within the region;
  • The Minimum Standards Law for Wetlands Conservation (promoted by Wetlands International Argentina) approved by the Senate of Argentina at the end of 2013;
  • The Management Plan for the Delta sector of Tigre (built with the technical advice of Wetlands International Argentina) approved by the local Council in March 2013;
  • The Round Table for Responsible Soy Standard reviewed and improved with better consideration of wetland ecosystems.


Action Partners:

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