Governance and stakeholder participation in the management of Mediterranean coastal wetlands

It is urgent to promote actions to achieve the preservation of the Mediterranean coastal and island wetlands of high ecological values. This should create an enabling environment for sustainable conditions and uses of these ecosystems, through the mechanisms of good, effective and equitable governance.

As part of the MAVA Foundation strategy for Mediterranean coastal wetlands, a three-year project on “Governance and stakeholder participation in coastal wetlands’ management’’ has been launched.

Through appropriate public participation, the project will support the implementation of adequate governance of three pilot sites: the Oristano Stagni (Italy), Ghar el Melah (Tunisia) and Lower Delta of Bojana-Buna (with demonstrations in Ulcinj Salina (Montenegro) and Buna River Protected Landscape (Albania)).


Project objectives

The main goal of the project is to create an enabling environment for reducing threats to coastal wetlands and ensuring sustainable coastal development. In order to achieve this goal by 2022, the project should identify the main critical governance issues in the demonstration sites, producing guidance on how to proceed and supporting implementation of specific recommendations.

Practically, the guidance would be targeted at:

  • Improving preconditions to successfully implement the activities in the demonstration areas, mainly in relation to the decision-making processes. These should include supporting the establishment and/or functioning of different coordination and integration mechanisms to facilitate coastal wetland conservation within broader coastal management systems.
  • Strengthening the problem-solving capacity of institutions involved in the decision-making processes, leading to long-term changes in the behaviour of key user groups and institutions, as well as changes on how and where financial investments are made. These could involve strengthening institutional capacity for long-term and integrated planning to deal with interconnected problems, as well as increasing expertise to enable an efficient and effective delivery of agreed priorities. As part of the process, the project will promote the principles of good, effective and equitable governance, including participation and inclusion, accountability, predictability and transparency of the governing structures.


Expected project outputs

The main output of the project will be the publication of a Handbook on Coastal Wetlands Governance, taking into accounts the principles and practice of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and the tools offered by the two relevant Conventions: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP).

This Handbook will help to put in place an integrated coastal wetlands governance taking into consideration the interface with the river basins. Although a number of governance documents exist, the combination of a detailed methodological guide and comparative reflections from its application is deficient. This Handbook will support filling this gap, in the hope that it will have wide interest and use.


Project leader and partners

During the three years of the project, the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) will act as project leader and will be joined by four international partners: the IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (IUCN ECARO) based in Belgrade, the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med), and the Network of Marine Protected Areas Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPan).


More information

’An Integrative Methodological Framework for coastal, river basin and aquifer management’’ produced by PAP/RAC, GWP Med and UNESCO in 2015.



Marko Prem, Deputy Director of PAP/RAC


            Pond of Cabras, in Oristano (Italy). Photo: Funtana Meiga


The Buna River-Velipoja Protected Landscape in Shkodra (Albania). Photo Credit: L.Chazee/TDV


                       The Lake of Ghar el Melh (Tunisia). Photo: R Limam