Civic participation

Millions of people depend on the ecosystems of the La Plata Basin, either directly or indirectly. Rural communities make a living through fishing, small-scale agriculture and tourism. They use the water for drinking, irrigation, washing and travel. People in the cities consume products from the region and depend on the wetlands as a source of drinking water and to regulate water levels.

Local communities have the right to know and decide about plans and projects that affect the natural resources on which their lives and livelihoods depend. They have the right to develop their own plans and vision for their environment, and to turn those plans into reality.

Top-down policymaking

More often than not, regional and local governments fail to inform local communities about large-scale projects and plans, or do so only at the final stages of the process, when the plan is already fully designed. Policies and plans tend to cater to the interests of economic and political elites who have easy access to policymakers. The ideas and needs of those most dependent on the environment for their livelihoods go unheard.

Informing, involving and mobilising the public

The Wetlands without Borders programme is enhancing civic participation in decision-making about the region’s natural resources. We are signalling potential threats to free-flowing rivers, local livelihoods and ecosystems by collecting, analysing and sharing information about governmental policies and plans. When necessary, we engage in dialogue with government authorities and stimulate them to organise official public consultation processes. We advocate for policies to support agroecology and other sustainable and inclusive practices such as biocultural corridors.

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Along many rivers, communities have formed “popular committees” to cooperate and protect their river

Local communities have the right to develop their own plans and vision for their environment and turn them into reality.