Photo credit: M. Thibault.
Context and objectives
Since 1970, the Mediterranean region has lost 50% of its natural wetlands and we continue to destroy them. These habitats are vital, in particular to help coastal communities to adapt to present and future impacts of the climate crisis, which could directly affect more than 350 million people. Coastal wetlands are key solutions for helping us to manage extreme events like floods and storms. In addition, they can store 10-20 times more carbon than temperate or boreal forests on land. It is crucial that we urgently work to preserve Mediterranean coastal wetlands.
The project “Enhancing the conservation of coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean Basin” will run until 2022, thanks to the financial support of the MAVA Foundation. It brings together more than 30 partners in 10 countries, and has the following objectives:
• Restore coastal wetlands and make them work as nature-based solutions to mitigate climate impacts in the region
• Encourage sustainable water use and reduce water abstraction
• Reduce threats that affect coastal wetlands and related marine habitats
• Create new socioeconomic opportunities based on coastal wetlands
These objectives will be achieved by:
• Building capacity for effective management and planning processes
• Raising awareness on the importance and value of coastal wetlands
• Implementing local solutions that can be replicated across the region
€ 14.5 M (fully funded – €10.7 M MAVA Foundation; €3.7 M others). MAVA is a Swiss private philanthropic foundation whose mission is “to conserve biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature by funding, mobilising and strengthening its partners and the conservation community”. It has operated since 1994 and will be closing in 2022.
MedWet is an original and innovative governance model formally recognised by the Ramsar Convention. It is based on the collaborative effort of the 27 Mediterranean countries and entities, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, intergovernmental institutions, international NGOs and national institutions specialising in wetland issues. It is the only platform to share information and technical capacities between governmental institutions and civil society serving wetlands in the Mediterranean through concerted actions within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Local communities, public authorities at the local, regional and national level, wetland and territorial managers, private sector.
- Build a strong Mediterranean Wetlands Partnership.
- Improve and share the wetlands knowledge base and ensure it helps relevant authorities to make informed decisions. There will be a specific focus on wetlands’ importance to biodiversity, sustainable practices and management, and their role as nature-based solutions (NBS), in order to counteract water abstraction and coastal development threats.
- Ensure that wetland economic sectors (salt production, tourism and agriculture) operate more sustainably and create socio-economic opportunities which help bend the curve of loss and degradation by restoring the relationship between humans and nature for future generations.
- Develop a communication and awareness strategy to ensure engagement of relevant stakeholders at regional and site level.
- Develop national and regional policy and advocacy strategies for wetlands, ensuring that wetlands are also at the top of the EU agenda.
- Promote strong governance to effectively support management planning and implementation, including by building capacity on the sustainable governance of wetlands.
- Consolidate the network of Mediterranean wetlands managers, which is already operating in 120 sites over 1 million ha in the region.
- Support the restoration of wetlands in at least 10 countries across the Mediterranean region.
- A powerful and effective network of organisations constantly coordinating to preserve and restore Mediterranean wetlands
- A strong and sound database of studies, research and knowledge available to all
- Support to the sustainable socio-economic development of the region
- Civil society engagement to support wetlands as a nature-based solution against climate impacts and the water crisis in the Mediterranean
- Political commitments and actions to stop the degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and ensure their restoration
- Replicable management and governance models
- Support at the local, regional and international levels for the effective restoration of wetlands