This paper was published in the ‘Marine and Freshwater Research’ journal. It reports on the results of the first study investigating the implementation of voluntary environmental contracts for wetland governance at the Mediterranean European level.
This paper was prepared in the framework of the project “TUNE UP – Promoting multilevel governance for tuning up biodiversity protection in marine areas” (5MED18_3.2_M23_053) – (CUP: E45D18000410004), funded by Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020.
Flamingos in the Camargue, France. Photo Credit: Thierry Riols
Ramsar sites are internationally protected wetlands designated to maintain an international network for biodiversity conservation and sustain human life. There are often conflicting interests for site management that lead to decisions based on sectoral policies or local approaches that have poor outcomes in terms of effectiveness and trade-offs. The European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) requires European countries to foster an integrated approach for wetland management through collaborative governance processes. The environmental contract is a tool that has been developed and implemented to set the ground for voluntary-based commitments for the sustainable governance of water systems. This paper reports on the results of the first study investigating the implementation of voluntary environmental contracts at the Mediterranean European level. Our results indicate that Ramsar sites in the region have made great progress with the development of management plans, yet many sites still lack governance schemes involving stakeholders. Voluntary environmental contracts have been widely used in Ramsar sites in France and Italy, but only a few other European countries have started implementing them. We have identified the need to further adapt the tool to local and national contexts, as well as the need for legislation, to promote upscaling at the regional scale.
Bibliographical reference: Ernoul Lisa, Vera Pablo, Gusmaroli Giancarlo, Muccitelli Serena, Pozzi Carolina, Magaudda Stefano, Polajnar Horvat Katarina, Smrekar Aleš, Satta Alessio, Monti Flavio (2021) Use of voluntary environmental contracts for wetland governance in the European Mediterranean region. Marine and Freshwater Research , -.