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The Program | Vembanad Wetland Conservation Program


The Program


Vembanad Wetland Conservation Program was initiated by ATREE in the year 2005 to conserve the Ramsar Site Vembanad Lake situated in the southwest coast of India. Under this program, ATREE has envisioned “to identify and develop the capacity needs and institutional networks for participatory integrated management of Vembanad Wetlands, so that it is restored, protected and maintained for generations to come”.   A multistakeholder, interdisciplinary approach has been designed and implemented to bring democratic principles into wetland conservation. The conservation programmes are implemented through the Community Environmental Resource Centre (CERC) of ATREE, established in Alappuzha.  The approach based on sound democratic principles, attempt to develop and implement a conservation model “by the community”.

The Journey began…

A pilot study was undertaken during 2005 to 2007 to define the scope of ATREE’s intervention, and to identify and prioritize the thrust areas. A series of stakeholder consultations were held with local Panchayats, elected representatives, officials of various departments, local NGOs, environmental experts and the community. These deliberations resulted in designing a conservation approach to promote the ‘wise use’ of Vembanad Lake based on four guiding principles/cross-cutting elements of Communication, Education, Public Awareness and Mainstreaming (CEPA).

The program adopted a multi-pronged approach to strengthen communities and institutions for sustainable management of Vembanad- the vital source of their livelihood. CERC –ATREE evolved six major intervention strategies through a series of stakeholder interactions that ultimately culminated in implementing livelihood activities –vis-à-vis lake conservation.  The key strategies involved facilitating policy dialogues, awareness creation and capacity building of the stakeholders, community based water quality monitoring, establishing a knowledge repository of Vembanad lake and strengthening ecosystem elements to enhance fisheries and agri-based livelihoods.  CERC has been try to establish networks involving primary as well as secondary stakeholders and has emphasized the institutionalization process from the inception of the conservation program. 


Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
Community Environmental Resource Centre (CERC)

Vembanad Socio – Ecological System