Chilika is the largest lake along the east coast of India and a designated Ramsar site. It is a unique assemblage of marine, brackish and fresh water ecosystem with estuarine characters. The highly productive lake ecosystem with its rich fishery resources and biodiversity sustains the livelihood of more than 0.2 million people in the local communities who live in and around the lake. The lake ecosystem was facing degradation due to alteration of fresh water flow, choking and shifting of the lake mouth coupled with accelerated siltation due to changes in the land use pattern and degradation of the drainage basin. This resulted in change of its ecological characters and it was added to the list of the Montreux Record in 1993 by Ramsar Bureau. Being concerned with this the Government of Orissa created Chilika Development Authority (CDA) in the year 1992, for the restoration and integrated management of the lake. CDA adopted a holistic approach by way of integration of coastal processes and the drainage basin into the adaptive management planning that evolved through a wide scale consultation and targeted scientific studies. The important outcome of the study was that the lake was turning into a freshwater ecosystem because of poor exchange with sea water. While CDA was looking forward for a solution, Ramsar Center Japan (RCJ) came forward to assist CDA to relate to Lake Saroma in Japan where effective solution to similar problem was achieved. Prof. T. Tsujii, participated in the 1st Chilika management-planning workshop in December 1998 and recommended to re-establish the connection to the sea as has been done in case of Lake Saroma in Japan for restoration of Chilika Ecosystem. Subsequently RCJ organized a technical visit of Chief Executive CDA and Director Wetlands International South Asia to Saroma in 1999 August. With the inputs and the experience learnt from Saroma, CDA went for the hydrological intervention by way of opening of a new mouth in October 2000. The intervention improved the hydrological regime resulting in enhancement of the lake productivity immensely. It demonstrates how hydrological restoration of a wetland can result not only in the improvement of the ecosystem but can immensely benefit the local communities. Chilika was removed from the Montreux Record and prestigious Ramsar Award was conferred on CDA in recognition of the exemplary restoration work carried out with the active involvement of stakeholders.
The 193-km2 Anzali Wetland is located on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and is internationally known as an important wetland for migratory birds. It was registered as a Ramsar site in June 1975 in accordance with the Ramsar Convention. However, water quality in the wetland is deteriorating due to human activities, and, as a result, the Anzali Wetland was included in the Motreux Record because its protection was deemed a priority. The Government of Iran requested the Government of Japan to cooperate in the conservation of Anzali Wetland. The Japan International Cooperation Agency, on behalf of the Japanese government, conducted a master plan study from 2003 to 2005, and provided technical cooperation to formulate a basic system to implement the master plan. The project ran from 2007 to 2012, including a period from 2008 to 2011 in which work was suspended. The basic
system refers to an organizational framework and conservation regulations for the integrated management of Anzali Wetland. Hence, a cross-sectoral committee and a zoning plan were established to manage land use of the wetland with local residents.