Ridge to Reef

Managing Waters from Source to Sea - Healthy and well-managed river basins and coastal areas where people and nature thrive, is the vision behind IUCN’s initiative, ‘Ridge to Reef’ (R2R).
Ridge to Reef

R2R Initiative

Marine habitats and coastal wetlands are some of the most biodiverse on the planet. R2R aims to protect, demonstrate sustainable approaches, and provide better economic understanding of the links between salt and freshwater ecosystems.


Well managed coastal and estuarine ecosystems support livelihoods, income from fisheries and tourism. Wetland and marine environments (including coral reefs) are less vulnerable to damage when rivers are kept healthy. Coasts and river deltas support the economies of many of the largest cities in the world, and many more isolated countries such as small island nations.

Solutions to water pollution are found in coordinating the use and management of land and water from source to sea. By linking action and implementation in river basins and coasts, the aim is to support ecosystem services and improve riparian and coastal livelihoods.

Under IUCN Water, freshwater and marine water management will be improved through linking river systems and coastal areas together.

Demonstration approaches will be used in a number of sites including:

  • Latin America – improving watershed management practices and reducing sedimentation for downstream benefits in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras).

  • Oceania – demonstration of sustainable watershed management and development on Kadavu Island (Fiji), the Togitogiga watershed in Samoa, and improving watershed governance in the Nadi River Basin in Fiji.

  • Asia – development of approaches for urban river restoration to demonstrate how clean waters improve quality of life and health.


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