| Vulnerable spots
Principles are essentially statements of commitment as to how the government views its responsibilities to implement the National Wetland Policy, consistent with its constitutional jurisdiction and the cultural practices of the nation. A set of perhaps eight to ten principles drafted in a concise manner is reasonable. This could include a principle that none of the government’s actions implemented through this policy will infringe on the rights of its component provincial or state governments and that these actions will ensure a spirit of cooperation with them. A similar principle with regard to aboriginal or indigenous peoples and local communities could be identified. Principles can note the linkages of the policy to the government’s commitment to sustainable development, the environment, or biodiversity conservation, as appropriate.
Objectives for a National Wetland Policy...will need to focus on a variety of key words as they often become the image of the policy. A list of objectives (five to ten have been noted in several National Wetland Policies adopted to date) is required with the intention that all are of equal importance in the announcement of the policy. However, practical implementation of the policy may result in the observation that only one or two of these receive the greatest public attention. For example, Canada’s announcement of its federal wetland policy in 1992 contained seven objectives focusing on maintenance of wetland functions, advance land use planning affecting wetlands, no net loss of wetland functions on federal lands, enhancement and rehabilitation of wetlands, securing sites of national significance, mitigation of the impact of all federal activities on any wetland in the nation, and wise use of wetland resources. The “no net loss” goal however has proven to be the single most noted aspect of this policy.
The following potential objectives are useful to consider in the drafting of a National Wetland Policy:
Ensure that a National Wetland Policy, as well as any programmes formulated under it, are linked to other land, soil, water, air, wildlife conservation and economic development policies in order to secure the wise use of the nation’s wetlands and meet international wetland conservation responsibilities.
Promote the prevention of further wetland loss and encourage the rehabilitation of the nation’s wetlands by maintaining their integrity; preserving the genetic diversity of these wetlands; and ensuring that the enjoyment and economic use of wetlands are sustainable...
The policy should include specific, measurable implementation strategies. Policy strategies must address key areas that demonstrate the priorities of the government and also foster a desired level of cooperation and involvement of other interests....
Linkages through these strategies to other national water, biodiversity and sustainable development policy initiatives should be further explored. Other themes than those below will be important to some National Wetland Policies...
Create common wetland conservation objectives through the development and coordination of federal, provincial (state), territorial and municipal wetland policies; and link those wetland policies to other land, soil, water, air, wildlife conservation and economic development policies to ensure wetland conservation is part of comprehensive national land use planning.
Recognize that wetlands are both land and water.
Clarify government (at all levels) jurisdictional and legal responsibilities concerning wetlands, particularly those in marine and intertidal areas.
Relate government initiatives and existing policies or guidelines (for example, federal, provincial and state agriculture policies, fish habitat policies, waterbird and shorebird management, forestry and agriculture-food agreements) to wetland conservation.
Establish within each province, state or territory, a process or lines of communication for translating policy recommendations for all agencies involved in reasonable land use decisions at the local level.