About River Basin Initiative (RBI)
River Basin Initiative is a global activity under the joint work plan of both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
To establish a global network to share information and link and support activities where the principles of integrated management of biodiversity, wetlands and river basins are demonstrated.
• Promote integrated river basin management with an ecosystem approach, including wetland and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
• Strengthen cross sectoral dialogue and partnership between the water/land use sectors and biodiversity/wetland conservation sectors.
• Support implementation of recent decisions under the CBD, Ramsar Convention and The Hague Ministerial Conference on Water.
The role of the River Basin Initiative is to improve the flow of data; information and expertise between sectors involved in basin-scale water and wetland management, both within and between basins, and enhance country capacity for basin-scale management.
The Initiative will not be directly developing or implementing on-the-ground basin management projects, as there are already a large number of these players. The Initiative, however, may stimulate or assist organisations in such projects, and endorse such projects where they contribute to the River Basin Initiative goals.
The Need for River Basin Initiative
River and their associated ecosystems and biological diversity provide the basis of life for a large portion of the world's population. Food from riverine fisheries, supply of clean water for agriculture, household or urban use, prevention of floods, and maintenance of tourism and recreation values all depend on the environmentally sound management of river basins. Thoughout the world,the poor management of land and water resources in many river basins have led to major floods, water shortages, pollution and loss of biodiversity. These are serious and growing problems which are causing massive economic and human losses as well as damaging the life support systems of the planet. As a result, there has been a growing consensus on the need for rapid and concerted action.
Following intense debate over the past three years involving the UN family, the water resource sector and in the biodiversity related conventions, there is now an international consensus on the need for an integrated approach to river basin management, which incorporates ecosystem functions and values.
Guidelines and decisions recently adopted in 1999-2000 underthe Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Ministerial Conference on Water at The Hague, have set out a strategic approach to ensure the proper management and sustainability of ecosystems and associated biodiversity within river basins. However, practical experiences of these relatively new concepts are scattered worldwide and many agencies and countries are seeking guidance on how to move forward. As a result, there is a demand for a mechanism to promote sharing of best practices and issues relating to integrated management of river basins based on an ecosystem approach. This is the basis for the development of the River Basin Initiative .
How does the Initiative operate?
The Initiative was endorsed by the Conference of Parties of CBD (COP5) in May 2000 through Decision V/2. It operates under the framework of the Joint Work Plan between CBD and the Ramsar Convention, to supportimplementation of convention decisions related to better management of inland water ecosystems and associated biodiversity, water resources and wetlands.
The Initiative aims to work in partnership with national and international organizations throughtheir on-going and future activities at local and river basin level.
Develop a cross-sectoral partnership with participation at local, country and international levels to advance integrated management of biodiversity, wetlands and river basins.
- Establish a Knowledge Sharing Network to share experiences and good practices across sectors and between partners in a cost effective manner.
- Enhance awareness on options for integrated river basin management.
- Strengthen capacity in selected countries and agencies.
- Analyse and synthesize information for input to biodiversity, wetlands and water resource related meetings and dialogues.
- A working partnership between water, biodiversity and wetland sector agencies at national and international levels.
- An internet-based reference collection and active information exchange network with discussion forums.
- Established pilot projects/sites demonstrating integrated river basin management.
- Awareness materials/campaigns/training courses to promote bestpractices.
- Manuals and review documents providing guidance to governments and practitioners.
Phases of the Initiative
- Preparatory Phase (May 1999 -May 2000)
- Establishment Phase (June 2000 - July 2001)
- Initial Operational Phase (August 2001 - December 2003)
- Operational Phase (from January 2004)
- Establishment of the partnership mechanisms and support cross-sectoral dialogue.
- Initiate information sharing activities.
- Develop/disseminate awareness and training materials.
- Establish and operate and Internet-based knowledge sharing system.
- Implement pilot activities at demonstration sites/basins.
River Basin Initiative News
RBI News is the biannual newsletter of the River Basin Initiative. It is currently distributed free to all RBI members and partners. The RBI News brings you the latest news and development of the Initiative, river basin projects around the world, as well as useful river basin and water resources links, publications and events.
Note: Due to insufficient funding, the production of RBI News has been put on hold. In the mean time, members will be sent a regular e-update on what is new on the RBI Portal. This include news articles, publications, events and announcements.
If you would like to receive a regular update from the RBI Portal, just complete the Subscription Form and return it to GEC via email. You can also subscribe online by creating an account on RBI Portal home page.
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We still welcome articles (short and feature articles), project descriptions/profiles, announcements and comments from readers to be published in the next issue. Short articles and announcements should not be longer than 300 words and feature articles should be between 800-1,000 words.All articles are to be sent to the RBI Secretariat via email or post. (Please include a soft copy if by post)
To read more issues about About River Basin Initiative (RBI) go to Clean Up website