WWF Report Explores Rivers’ Less Valued Benefits

26 August 2018: WWF has published a report that highlights the capacity of healthy rivers to help mitigate natural disasters, among other less valued benefits. The publication provides a framework for improving how societies measure, value, and promote rivers’ diverse benefits. It also offers solutions to support better decisions and management.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The report shows that 19% of global GDP comes from watersheds with high or very high water risk.
  • It warns that the traditional view of rivers as primarily sources of water and power puts other critical benefits at risk.
  • The publication concludes that fulfilling rivers’ full potential will require a new way of valuing rivers’ diverse benefits, supported by policies and practices designed to maintain or restore them.

Titled, ‘Valuing Rivers: How the Diverse Benefits of Healthy Rivers Underpin Economies,’ the publication notes that the traditional view of rivers as primarily sources of water and power puts other critical benefits at risk, such as freshwater fisheries, natural flood protection for cities, and sediment flows that keep the world’s deltas above the rising sea levels. The publication underlines that these benefits tend to be overlooked and remain a low priority for decision makers until they either disappear, or crises arise.

The report shows that 19% of global gross domestic product (GDP) comes from watersheds with high or very high water risk. It cautions that most of the world’s large deltas, including the Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Nile, and Yangtze, are “sinking and shrinking.” The data presented also reveal that only 40% of the European surface waters are currently considered healthy.

The recommended framework includes a set of governance structures needed to make proposed reforms and innovations widespread and durable.

The publication concludes that fulfilling rivers’ full potential will require a new way of valuing rivers’ diverse benefits, supported by policies and practices designed to maintain or restore them. The authors caution that, while methods to quantify rivers’ benefits, including ecosystem service valuations, have made considerable progress, the results of improved valuation have had limited impact on policies and practice.

icon: PDF by AdobeGet the WWF report here.

Making the case for moving beyond valuation, the report proposes a framework that encompasses approaches to communicate rivers’ value to diverse audiences and build coalitions to support improved management. The recommended framework includes a set of […]

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Summary
WWF Report Explores Rivers’ Less Valued Benefits
Article Name
WWF Report Explores Rivers’ Less Valued Benefits
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Fulfilling rivers’ potential requires a new way of valuing their diverse benefits, supported by policies and practices designed to maintain or restore them.
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