Water, food and climate security of South Asia region is inextricably linked with its diverse wetland regime. However, the region’s complex development dynamics, coupled with limited awareness on the contribution lakes and wetlands make to societal well-being, has led to severe pressure on these ecosystems. Wetlands continue to be degraded and lost due to conversion for alternate uses, fragmentation of hydrological regimes, pollution, species invasion, unsustainable tourism, overharvesting of resources and regional climate change.
Wetlands International South Asia (WISA) and International Lake Environment Committee, Japan (ILEC) have been collaborating since the last five years on promoting integrated basin scale management of wetlands by building capacity of wetlands managers and stakeholders. WISA is also being regularly approached by national and state governments, and site managers seeking support in area of capacity development for integrated management of wetlands, and formulation and implementation of basin scale wetland management plans. The ILEC has developed an Integrated Lake Basin Management Platform, as a management and governance improvement process supporting design and implementation of basin-wide management plans. Recognizing the value of integrated lake basin management as an organizing framework for management of wetlands in South Asia, WISA and ILEC are intending to join hands with an objective of strengthening capacity for managing wetlands in the region.
A meeting to discuss elements of collaborative work between the two organizations was held on May 14, 2018 at WISA Office, New Delhi. Dr. S. Kaul (President, WISA), Dr. Ajit K. Pattnaik (Vice President, WISA) and Prof. J.K.Garg (Hony Treasurer, WISA) and Dr. M. Nakamura (Vice President, ILEC) met to chalk out a strategy for identifying priorities and strategy for strengthening integrated management of wetlands in the region. It was agreed that the two organizations, complementing each other’s strengths and networks would strive to create a South Asia forum for wetlands managers, policy makers and practitioners, to enable application of best practices, share lessons and build capacity for integrated basin scale management of wetlands.