Water and Wetlands in the Mediterranean – the next 20 years

At the time when the global Ramsar family meets in Bucharest for COP11 in July 2012, wetland specialists from around the Mediterranean Sea will gather for their 11th meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee, the governing body of MedWet, the longest established Ramsar regional initiative that was originally conceived in 1991. On this occasion, nearly 300 participants looked back at the achievements of this regional programme of cooperation for water-related ecosystems during a major conference in Agadir, Morocco, last February. They elaborated then a vision for the next 20 years, summarised in the Agadir Guidelines, and compiled a list of Agadir Commitments (i.e. concrete projects and ongoing activities and in preparation for the maintenance of the many services of water-related ecosystems). The detailed outputs of the conference can be found here: http://agadir2012.medwet.org. Its detailed proceedings are planned to be accessible online by the time of COP11.

Recently, the small steering group of the Ramsar regional initiative met in Paris, hosted by the French Environment Ministry, to prepare the agenda of the meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com 11) that will take place in the afternoon of 5 July in Bucharest, to clarify operational, administrative and financial issues. The report and conclusions of their deliberations in Paris are available on the MedWet homepage at: www.medwet.org.

Probably the most remarkable recent achievement of MedWet was the publication of the first synthesis report of the Mediterranean Wetland Observatory, launched at the Agadir conference: the Mediterranean Wetland Outlook 2012. Two reports, a more technical one and a more comprehensive one for decision-makers, can be downloaded in English and French from the MedWet website. A specific side-event on the MedWet Initiative and its Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory will be organised during Ramsar COP11 in Bucharest . And in the meantime, you can have a look at this flashy video, summarizing in 11 minutes the wetland challenges for the next 20 years in the Mediterranean: http://www.medwetlands-obs.org/en/content/film-mediterranean-wetlands-generous-ecosystems-are-greatly-threatened-human-activities (also available in French).

The above photo from the Agadir symposium depicts a group of schoolchildren from Corsica and Morocco, who worked for several months on questions related to wise use of Mediterranean wetlands, delivering a stark message to the international audience of the Agadir symposium, held under the high patronage of HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and opened by his sister HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa.

A report by Tobias Salathé, Senior regional advisor for Europe

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