Promoting appropriate wetland development


Wetland development requires major investments of capital, manpower, technology, and inputs, as well as substantial annual investments in maintenance.

Modern society has much to learn from the many systems of sustainable wetland use which have been practised for centuries by rural communities, although traditional practices need to be adjusted to today's conditions.


The role of wetlands as groundwater recharge and discharge, flood control, water purification, fisheries support and nutrient retention are free goods and public benefits. Costing these services, in addition to ecotourism opportunities, offer attractive alternatives to wetland conversion for other development purposes. The lack of awareness of environmental services or private profit favours wetland drainage, therefore disrupting the normal water supply and compromising long-term viability of investments.


Wetland development projects concentrate on goods produced by wetlands (agricultural, forestry or fishery yields) without taking into consideration their full value as environmental regulators of land, water and nutrient flows. Consequently, where conversion is attempted, the ability of natural wetlands to sustain alternative development is low.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal