Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Safeguarding a global treasure

EU involvement in South America's highly biodiverse wetlands region of Pantanal has paved the way to solid strategies for sustainable development and preservation of the region.
Safeguarding a global treasure
Beyond the rain forests and their importance as a natural biotope, the Pantanal is considered the largest wetland in the world. Unparalleled in its biodiversity, this region in South America requires constant monitoring to safeguard its richness and ensure sustainable management of water. The region is also very important for the European Research Area (ERA), offering valuable insight into earth sciences and allowing the EU to contribute to a sustainable planet.

The EU-funded project 'Institutions and research in the Pantanal: towards a bioregional research agenda to support policy institutions, legal frameworks and social action' (INREP) supported sustainable water management and biodiversity in the region. Thanks to Europe's experience in river management, biodiversity and relevant research, this partnership with Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay allowed the EU to offer its assistance through workshops, symposiums and recommendations.

A SWOT analysis of the region and country-specific documents containing priority actions for the region, including a solid research agenda, were prepared by the project team. These included environmental impacts and solutions, mapping and monitoring of ecosystems, diagnosis and solutions for sustainable development, and several other key issues. For example, the management of sustainable natural resources addressed how the wetlands must be managed by farmers and fishermen, and offered cost-benefit analyses and water/land quality maintenance.

Other topics touched on during the project included improving transport waterways in the region such as the Paraguay-Parana River. Climate change and its effects on the wetlands was also covered, as well as maintaining the wetlands in their current state and various monitoring technologies. This included biological, chemical, climatic and ecological parameters that can be observed through the Global Environmental Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and the European Union Water Initiative – Latin America (EUWI-LA). The project also investigated governance, laws, institutions and policies that affect the well-being of the Pentanal, as well as stakeholder participation and social participation in decision making.

This region is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the planet's most remarkable environmental treasures. Results of the INREP project will help develop scenarios to protect the Pentanal and ensure that human encroachment does not threaten it.

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