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NEW LAWS FOR A BETTER ENVIRONMENT
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Abudget for implementation of a national wetland policy initiative may only become required once it is to be presented to the government for approval, that is, after consultations on what needs to be done are completed. The resourcing aspects of such a national wetland policy are then best presented in a single section, rather than throughout the document. A “resource needs assessment” made at the outset may need updating during the life of the policy, so detailed costings may not be appropriate in the document itself.

An “action plan” may be a suitable vehicle. Typically, this will involve a list of actions to deliver the objectives and goals of the policy with measurable timelines. When budgeted staff and financial resources are added it can be considered a “work plan”...A statement should also be provided of what type of resource savings might be expected from effective implementation of the policy...

One of the components of the wise-use concept of the convention is that contracting parties review legislation that has negative impact on wetlands as well as develop, where appropriate, new legislation to promote wetland wise-use and protection. This is a crucial step and involves a complex series of studies to evaluate and propose alternatives to existing programmes, policies and legislation that involve disincentives to conservation practices and negatively affect wetlands.

To assist in the review and development of national legislation supporting wetland conservation, the Convention on Wetlands and IUCN Environmental Law Centre cooperated in the production of Resolution VII.7 on guidelines for reviewing laws and institutions to promote the conservation and wise-use of wetlands, which were adopted at the Convention’s COP7 in May 1999. These documents followed an international workshop, convened in July 1998, entitled Designating Methodologies to Review Laws and Institutions Relevant to Wetlands, in which a group of national case studies from Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Peru, Uganda and the Wadden Sea secretariat were presented.

In some countries, new wetland legislation is needed or expected; in many African nations, for example, clearly defined laws and penalties for non-compliance are encouraged. In other nations, new or additional legislation is often felt to be less effective than encouraging non-regulatory solutions with voluntary compliance and land stewardship approaches. Non-government agencies and local organizations can be effective partners in the implementation of these policies. There is no standard rule or formula in this area as legal needs and arrangements vary from country to country...

An analysis of compatibilities, synergies and conflicts in legislation and policy is needed...Legislative review also means modifying and repealing legislation and policies that may be inconsistent or outmoded in terms of a government’s wetland conservation objectives. This is difficult and can be the subject of rivalry among competing interests within the government system.

Legislative needs and opportunities will vary from nation to nation, in particular between developed and developing nations with radically different economies and political systems. The introduction of new legislation and successful implementation and enforcement of these can be severe tests of endurance ...

Voluntary action is, in principle, often preferred over compulsory legislatively-driven approaches. However, a basic ability to bring about the right result, even where parties do not volunteer it, must be assured by the provision of last resort enforcement powers.

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