MEDITERRE, 27 September - 1 October 2006
Mediterranean Parks Fair - Bari, Italy
September 30, a session on " network Forum: Working together to protect the Mediterranean "
Many presentations set the scene on the variety of approaches to protected areas in the Mediterranean -
- starting with a preview of the IUCN World Conservation Congress, scheduled to be held in Barcelona just before COP10
- then a perspective on developing EC policy on maritime areas,
- a review of UNEP-MAP specially protected marine protected areas,
- the MEDPAN project linking marine protected area managers in the Mediterranean,
- the efforts of the organization EUROPARC,
- a new perspective on a network for Mediterranean Forests,
- Man and Biosphere in the Mediterranean
- And perspectives on a network of Mountain protected areas.
In this stream of presentations, the network of Ramsar sites in the Mediterranean was included, between Forests and UNESCO-MAB. The presentation included the role of the MedWet initiative, and its unique position in the Mediterranean - "a region which divides yet unites" as the Fairs promotion notes. The theme of the fair stated:
Our aim is to strengthen the role of parks as experimental workshops for new forms of
Shared management and co-operation between different communities, rediscovering
common roots and diversity in order to enrich the Mediterranean community
Of course this is familiar in a Ramsar context, even if more globally
Other themes which emerged from presentations, including the Ramsar one, were the importance of understanding the interlinkages between cultural and biological diversity - a continuing key and important consideration in Ramsar matters, possible impacts of climate change on protected areas and their management, and the impact of ecotourism on the status of protected areas.
Reducing Overuse of natural resources and better management of pollution loads were seen as key to continued effective management of coastal and marine areas.
It was agreed by country representatives present to pursue the idea of a Mediterranean protected areas federation, possible to be presented in final form at the 4th World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in 2008. Ramsar's site network will inevitably be a key part of such a development, linking with other national protected areas, those identified under UNESCO conventions or programmes, as well as UNEP-MAOP efforts in the marine environment, and European Union designated sites on the north shore. The idea of the Federation is a welcome step to ensuring future continued development and integration of protected area efforts in a highly significant part of the planet.
-- Peter Bridgewater,