3rd MedWet/Regions meeting, Sevilla, May 2002

MedWet/Regions network holds its third meeting, Sevilla, 2-4 May 2002

On 2-4 May 2002, the 3rd meeting of the MedWet/Regions network-in-birth was hosted in Sevilla by the regional Ministry of Environment of Andalucia, Spain, who raised the standards of hospitality to unusual heights. The gathering was prepared very efficiently by Pere Tomas Vives of the Tour du Valat, and had as its objective to finalise the discussion and preparation of the proposal that will be submitted by the Regions participating in this network to the INTERREG IIIb MedOC (Mediterranee Occidentale) programme.

In detail, the Regions participating in the MedWet/Regions network are: Andalucia, Catalunya, Illes Balears, Murcia, and Valencia from Spain, Corse, Languedoc-Rousillion and Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur from France, and Toscana from Italy. The participation of Morocco has also been added in the network (although it is not eligible for Interreg funding, but using MedWet/Coast project funds to adhere to the network). Finally, the project will include the participation of the Tour du Valat as a project executant and member of the Comite du Pilotage, in which the MedWet Coordinator will also participate.

The proposal that will be submitted to Interreg at the end of May arrives at a total budget of just over 3 million EUR, and focuses on activities of exchange of expertise and experience between the regions, under the form of seminars / workshops and transregional collaboration, as well as region-specific activities on inventory, monitoring and management planning.

Probably the most important part of this initiative under MedWet is, besides reinforcing the work carried out at the level of each region, the adoption of common understandings and working methodologies at a Mediterranean level. The willingness and devotion of the members of the MedWet/Regions network has been demonstrated in the past days through the very active participation of all the members and the quite strenuous effort that was made by all sides to reduce the budget of the proposal to a level acceptable to Interreg, while maintaining the regional exchange component as the central issue.

One further point that emerged was that the MedWet methodologies and tools themselves have a lot to benefit from incorporating the experience and expertise developed at a regional level on wetlands, such as (for example) the monitoring programme of Andalucia, the water quality programme of Toscana, and the Sustainable Development and Tourism work of Languedoc-Rousillion.

The final version of the proposal must be prepared before the deadline at the end of May, and there is great hope for the success of the proposal. The coherence and future of the MedWet/Regions network does not depend entirely on the Interreg funding, however, as the regions are willing to continue supporting the exchange, as they have done so far without external funding support.

Finally, yesterday the hosts had organised a visit to the National Park of the Doñana wetland, which was a revealing experience of the size, richness and beauty of this wetland (and a reason for some sunburns too!)

-- reported by Spyros Kouvelis, MedWet Coordinator

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