The MedWet civil society network: the Maghreb Wetlands Sentinel
The MedWet Civil Society Network project took place in three Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It began on 1 April 2014 for a period of three years, financed by the MAVA Foundation, and brought together several partner organizations, namely the WWF Mediterranean Programme Office (WWF MedPO), the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), the Tour du Valat / Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (TdV/ MWO) and Wetlands International (WI).
The overall objective of the project was to contribute to promoting the conservation and sustainable participatory management of selected priority wetlands in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia through the development and capacity building of an active and efficient community of civil society in the three countries: the MedWet Network of Civil Society.
In North Africa, the wetlands of high ecological value are threatened because of human activities (waste, overfishing, urbanization, drainage for agriculture, etc.), reduced management actions, inadequate integration in territorial planning, and segmentation between development and conservation.
The wetlands in this region include representative or rare habitats such as estuaries, chotts, coastal swamps, mountain lakes, and oases. The three selected countries are home to many important sites ranked on the list of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention (as of May 2017, Algeria possesses 50, Morocco 24, and Tunisia 41).
The project has enabled the participants to create a platform in collaboration with a group of civil society organizations (CSO) from the three countries in order to strengthen the knowledge and monitoring of targeted sites for conservation and sustainable management of wetlands. It has put in place an assessment of the status and trends of selected priority wetlands * and provide timely results to targeted users such as Ramsar focal points of the three countries and local administrations. Socio-economic dimensions of biodiversity, habitats, and causes of change, water management, and ecosystem services are investigated. Finally the project will establish a knowledge transfer phase to other emerging civil society groups in the three countries.
The project, renamed “Wetlands Sentinels in the Maghreb: the MedWet Network of Civil Society”, has improved the information sharing and communication with all stakeholders: governments, civil society and experts in the field of water and wetlands. It has also helped to develop a strategy with non-governmental organizations (NGO) and countries in the process of policy development related to the use and conservation of water and wetlands. Finally, the project plans to work on harmonization of efforts, avoid duplication, and set out a common position and vision in the North African region.
At the end of the project, the main results are:
- A community of actors (associations, administrations), including six civil society organizations in each country (18 in total), was created and brought together in the three countries for better wetland field action.
- A first project presentation meeting was held in Hammamet, Tunisia, on 19 and 20 November 2014, in parallel with the Ramsar Regional Meeting for Africa. The 18 organizations present were able to sign the “Commitment Charter” as part of the draft MedWet community of civil society in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
- For World Wetlands Day 2015, a joint poster was prepared for organizations of the three countries on the theme of the Ramsar Convention: “Wetlands for Our Future”, with the implementation of outreach activities in the region.
- Three consultation meetings and an introduction to the collaboration among the three groups of associations with their respective administrations and Ramsar focal points were held in January and March 2015.
- The project was presented at the Ramsar COP12, during a side event with the participation of the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) network to better familiarize them with the Ramsar Convention, and to assess the possibilities of better application of convention in the three countries.
- A capacity building plan is duly implemented by organizing three training sessions on the implementation of the monitoring protocol (see links below) and a training of trainers course in the three countries with the participation of the different international partners of the project.
- A wetland monitoring protocol has been developed; the associations and representatives of focal points have been trained to implement it on the ground.
- An internal exchange platform has been set up on the social networking tool and actively used by CSOs.
- Seven associations were awarded a grant to replicate the knowledge and to put into practice the knowledge acquired during the progress of the project.
* The sites selected
Morocco: Site of the Moulouya, Lake Dayet Aoua, Wetland Dayet Roumi, Wetland Sidi Boughaba Marshes Fouwarat.
Algeria: wetland complex Guerbes-Sanhadja, Sebkha of Oran, Lake “Oglat Eddaira”, Lake Réghaïa, wetlands of El Kala National Park.
Tunisia: Sebkha Soliman, Korba Lagoon, Lagoon Ghar el Melah, The Sebkha of Esijoumi, Wetland complex of Chott el Guetayet, Sebkhet Dhreia, Oued Akarit, Oued Melah and Oued Rkhama.
Training on “Monitoring and evaluation of wetlands and protocol for monitoring the priority indicators of the Wetlands Sentinels Network in the Maghreb’’ held in Morocco (14-17 November 2016).
The two trainings sessions on monitoring and evaluation of wetlands held in Tunisia (6-9 December 2016) and Algeria (19-22 December 2016).
Faouzi Maamouri, WWF Mediterranean
Tel: +216 71 707 238
Mob: +216 97 967 754
Fax: +216 71 701 750
WWF North Africa Office
B, 4 Immeuble Ben Sassi
Av. Ahmed Khabthani
2080 – Ariana, Tunisia
Partner’s civil society organisations (list here)