Natural flow of rivers

WWN works on policy at the Ramsar COP and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements

The IUCN’s World Conservation Congress 2020 has approved a motion submitted by WWN member at Ramsar Network Japan (RNJ) Minoru Kashiwagi. The Resolution is about the natural flow of water for the conservation of wetlands.

In the discussion phase, we created a Natural flow of rivers microsite to contribute to the discussion. You can read the full text of the Resolution, or see the voting results, on the IUCN World Conservation Congress website.

Submission of a motion to the Congress of IUCN can be an effective tool for NGOs, especially grassroots and indigenous groups. Non-governmental members can submit a motion directly. It is not like in the case of a draft resolution at Ramsar COP. In the case of COP only parties, i.e. governments, can submit. NGOs have to find a party to propose a resolution. Once adopted, a motion will be a resolution or recommendation that all members of the IUCN, be they government or non-gorvernmental organisations, have to follow.

The submission of this Motion was a result of a joint project of WWN, RNJ and Korea Wetland NGO Network (KWNN) on the natural flow of water. It started at an international NGO workshop organised by WWN/KWNN/RNJ in Busan, Republic of Korea, in 2017. It is a project to halt the degradation/loss of wetlands due to developments on the flow of water from the headstream to estuaries and to coastal region less than 6 m in depth as defined by Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. KWNN proposed this project to address the national project of Four Rivers Project described in the appeal on WWN website. There have been many cases of degradation and loss in Japan and East Asia where there has been and was a strong pressure of development. KWNN and RNJ have taken the initiative for this project since then.

The Resolution calls on member states to legislate against risks to indigenous people, ecosystems, and local communities, by new projects that would prevent the natural flow of water, in particular, construction projects.

The Resolution points out the value of free-flowing rivers to ecologically-based disaster risk-reduction (EcoDRR), and the examples of the removal of Arase Dam in Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan, proposal of re-naturalisation of rivers by Republic of Korea and EU Water Directive linking water and ecosystem services.

The official website for the Congress explains the Resolution process.

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