Governance of the coastal wetlands

Governance and stakeholder participation in coastal wetlands’ management is a MAVA Foundation supported project. It has been implemented between 2018 and 2020. The most important output is the Handbook on coastal wetlands governance in addition to assistance provided to partners from the three pilot sites namely in  Oristano Gulf (Maristanis project), Ghar el Melh and Lower delta of Bojana-Buna river (with pilots in Ulcinj Salina and Buna River -Velipoje Protected Landscape) who  provided valuable insights and reflections for the preparation of this Handbook. Also, contribution was made by the transboundary ‘Prespa Park’, a protected area including the Prespa Lakes and their surroundings extending over the boundaries of Greece, Albania, and the Republic of North Macedonia.

PAP/RAC is the lead partner and has coordinated the project implementation while the partners are IUCN ECARO, MedWet, MedPan and GWP Med.

This is an overarching initiative of the MAVA Coastal Wetland Action Plan with the aim to achieve preservation of the coastal and island wetlands of high ecological values in the Mediterranean. A set of supporting actions need to be delivered, ensuring enabling environment for the sustainable conditions and uses of coastal ecosystems. These are to be done through the mechanisms of the good, effective and equitable governance.

The project was tailored around identifying the main critical governance components within the pilot sites, preparing guidance to the sites on how to improve targeted governance issues and supporting implementation of specific recommendations. Although the governance and public participation processes in the pilots was not directly implemented as part of this overarching initiative, collaboration with the partner organisations from the pilots was established for creating enabling environment for such implementation. Also, the project acted as a platform for exchange of experiences among the pilots, enabling collaboration and transfer of knowledge among pilots, integration and broad dissemination of lessons learned.

The project has the three main results which are further structured with the following activities:

RESULT 1: Decision-making preconditions for successful implementation the

activities in the Pilot areas are defined and include: Preparation of needs assessment within the pilot sites and preparation of guidance document (Handbook) on governance component.

RESULT 2:Technical support to pilot sites provided through organization of annual capacity building meetings/trainings.

RESULT 3:Dissemination of results by the preparing experience notes/ lessons learned from the three sites, design of the handbook and its wide dissemination, including translation to nine languages.


The main output of the initiative is a Handbook on Coastal Wetlands Governance. Although a number of governance documents exist, combination of detailed methodological guide and comparative reflections from its application is deficient but highly needed in coastal wetland management. This document support filing this gap so it is believed that it has a wide interest and usability.

This Handbook is designed as a practical guide for the governance of coastal wetlands around the Mediterranean, whether they are formally protected as Ramsar Sites, those designated under national or local legislation, or those lacking any formal protection. It takes into account the principles and practice of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and the tools offered by the two relevant conventions: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP).

Download the Handbook in English (PDF).

In the following video, Brian Shipman, one of the authors, is giving an overview of the Handbook:

The Handbook also contains linked, easy to use, on-line planning tools to help design efficient governance models. Download the Self-Assessment and Planning Tool in xlsx.

Watch the introduction to the Self-Assessment and Planning Tool by Brian Shipman:

 The handbook (in pdf) and the the Self-Assessment and Planning Tool in (xlsx, password PAPRAC) are also available in different languages:

– AlbanianHandbook    |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– ArabicHandbook    |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– CroatianHandbook    |  Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– FrenchHandbook    |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– GreekHandbook   |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– ItalianHandbook   |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– SlovenianHandbook   |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool
– SpanishHandbook    |   Self-Assessment and Planning Tool


Lessons learned:

The Document of Lessons Learned of the Mediterranean Coastal Wetlands Governance project is available HERE.

Download the Lessons Learned Postcards of the pilot sites of:

 Nice infographics were also made to promoting the handbook on social media. They can be downloaded via the following links:

For more information about the handbook, please contact Marko Prem, Deputy Director of PAP/RAC, at

In case of technical issues with the Self-Assessment and Planning Tool, please contact Brian Shipman at