Multi-stakeholder engagement for the ecological improvement of a river basin

Published on Aug 28, 2023


The Nant d’Avril is a peri-urban river, the second largest tributary to the Rhone on Geneva’s territory. The ecological quality of the river itself is rated poorly over most of its course, with serious risk for endangered animal species living in or alongside the river-bed. One key factor is the high level of human activities around the river, with build neighbourhoods, industrial zones, and wood, farming and viticultural land. The presence of multiple players with divergent interests constitutes a serious obstacle to global ecological improvement.


To overcome this obstacle, dss+ partnered with WWF Geneva to launch an extensive stakeholder engagement programme at the river-basin level, with the objective of engaging all parties related to the Nant d’Avril ecosystem in a project that seeks the ecological improvement of the river. The approach intends to reinforce the overall ambition and remove potential obstacles to the river-bed revitalisation project, run by the State of Geneva.


The project team ran different participatory workshops that led to the development and sign-off, by all involved parties, of the “Charter for the revitalisation of the Nant d’Avril river”. An expert group was also set up with the various stakeholders (civil society, public and private sector) with the mission of monitoring the preparation of the revitalisation project, sharing information and implementing improvement actions before the revitalisation execution.

“Where many revitalisation projects fail because of opposing interests, the dss+ approach has allowed actors for whom nature conservation is not their primary concern to see this project not as a constraint, but as a real opportunity.”

- Jean-Pascal Gillig, Secretary General of WWF Geneva.