ILBM platform process for successfully overcoming governance challenges and sustainable management of Chilika Lake & its Basin – a case study from India

By Dr. Ajit Kumar Pattnaik
November 9th, 11 hrs (GMT-6)

Governance is a steering function and is generally defined as the institutions that are responsible and accountable, structures and processes that determine who makes decisions, how and for whom decisions are made, whether, how and what actions are taken by whom and to what effect. So, what makes the governance of Lakes special ?. Firstly, Lakes encapsulate a range of ecosystems providing myriads of ecosystem services that are incredibly significant for human well-being, the livelihood of a host of dependent communities, and, most importantly, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Good governance, based on fairness, transparency and empowerment of all stakeholders, is essential for sustainable management and wise use of the lake & its basin. Many lakes globally are either degraded or lost due to unsustainable use and poor governance.

The Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) Platform developed by International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC) provides an excellent framework for sustainable management of Lakes and their Basins. ILBM is an approach for achieving sustainable management of lakes and wetlands through the gradual, continuous and holistic improvement of basin governance, including sustained efforts for the integration of six pillars, i.e. institutional responsibilities, policy directions, stakeholder participation, scientific and traditional knowledge, technological possibilities, and funding prospects and constraints. The adequacies and inadequacies of lake basin management for individual lake basins can be determined by reviewing and assessing the existing management activities and practices. Based on the comprehensive surveys of the state of the world’s lakes conducted over the past decades, relevant review questions have been categorized into six thematic domains, including; Institutions to manage a lake and its basin for the benefit of all lake basin resource users; Policies to govern people’s use of lake resources, and its impacts on lakes; Participation- Involvement of stakeholders to facilitate lake basin management; Technological possibilities and limitations that often dictate long-term decisions; Knowledge of both traditional and modern scientific origin as the basis for informed decisions; Sustainable finances to support the implementation of all of the above-noted activities. ILBM platform is now being adopted across the globe for sustainable management of the lake and their basins and gaining popularity day by day.ILBM Platform process was adopted successfully for restoration and management of Chilika lake, a Ramsar site of India. The case study demonstrates how six governance pillars of the ILBM platform are being used aptly to restore a highly degraded lake and bring it back to near pristine condition.

Session Chair: Pabel Antonio Cervantes-Avilés, Tecnológico de Monterrey