Informal Meeting of the MedWet Team, Alcochete, Portugal, 22 July 2005

An informal meeting of the MedWet Team was held o­n 22 July 2005, carrying over from a Meeting of the MedWet/CODDE (Interreg IIIc South) project, held in Alcochete, Portugal o­n 20-22 July. The MedWet Coordinator, Spyros Kouvelis, explained that owing to the absence of SEHUMED, this would be an informal meeting. Participants from MedWet Team members, Tour du Valat, ARPAT, ICN and EKBY, heard presentations o­n programme development opportunities, o­n the recently launched re-designed website of MedWet and o­n progress in the implementation of current MedWet projects.

The MedWet Programme Development Officer, Aspasia Dimizas, presented a series of programme development opportunities identifying new possibilities for MedWet Team members to come together and collaborate in the future. Reflecting o­n the presentation of the programme development agenda, Tour du Valat Project Manager, Pere Tomas Vives, commented o­n the productive role it can play in helping MedWet Team members advance their respective work programmes.

Concerning the programme development agenda of MedWet in general, several key issues emerged at the meeting, including recognition of:

-The need to ensure compatibility of the Water Framework Directive of the European Union with future MedWet inventorying tools
-The challenge of forecasting of funding opportunities with sufficient depth of time to allow the MedWet Team to best integrate these inputs into their respective programme development agendas 
-The importance of ensuring integration and continuity of results achieved by MedWet projects recently completed or approaching completion with MedWet future programme development. Examples include the MedWetCoast, MedWet Regions and MedWet SUDOE projects
-Capacity building for wetland management is an important area in the agenda of programme development of the MedWet Team

The MedWet Communications officer, Sofia Spirou, presented the recently launched MedWet website in its re-designed form at whose development constitutes an integral part of the goals of MedWet CEPA workplan for 2005. Advantages emphasized are the new o­nline database that carries information o­n a growing number of MedWet projects, including aims and actions, partners, budget and duration of projects, as well as the new user friendly website design. The opportunity to submit information to the website faster and using simplified tools was signaled as a major step in improving the speed and volume of information flow within MedWet. At the same time, advancing the quantity of information available within the MedWet Team o­n projects was identified as key to achieving broader representation of projects through the new website.

Nejib Benessaiah, the MedWet Policy Advisor delivered a presentation o­n progress in the implementation of the MedWet project ‘Protection and sustainable development of North African Wetlands’, financed in part by the European Union LIFE instrument. Approaching halfway towards completion, results achieved within this project include two environmental centers completed, in Lake Reghaia, Algeria as well as Sebkhat el Kelbia, Tunisia. Current work focuses in the training and implementation of diagnostic studies relating to the development of management plans for the three project sites in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. Visit the project website for more information (in English and French)

The Meeting was informed by Mario Cenni, Conservation Officer of Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale della Toscana (ARPAT), that results of the MedWet Regions project for the Tuscany region are now presented o­nline (in Italian).  Aimed among others at the inventorying of wetland sites in each of the participating regions with use of the MedWet Database Tool, the project has yielded detailed information o­n a wide range of features of each wetland, including its geology, hydrology, fauna and flora, the trophic status of waters, the physical and chemical characteristics of waters, the status of protection, adding to a total of 43 fields of information per site. Detailed interactive maps are included in the presentation of the project results in the above mentioned address, allowing visitors to navigate and explore a wealth of information o­n project wetland sites.

Joao Carlos Farinha, Director of Instituto da Conservação da Natureza (CEZH / ICN), presentated the activities of the Lisbon based ICN related to the programme of Medwet. Completion of the project ‘Inventory, assessment and monitoring for wetland management’ also known as MedWet/SUDOE was emphasized. Aimed among others to update and improve the MedWet Inventorying Tool with elements relating to the legal, socio-economic and cultural aspects of wetlands, the project, carried out in 14 sites across Spain and Portugal, was co-financed by the European Community INTERREG IIB SouthWest instrument.

Miltos Seferlis, from EKBY, presented the progress of the project ‘CapacityBuilding o­n Conservation of Albanian Wetland Ecosystems’ known as ALWET. In its context EKBY has undertaken to transfer expertise o­n MedWet inventorying tools to Albanian bodiesinvolved in wetland conservation and management helping them to build capacity to undertake wetland inventorying with use of remote sensing, databases, and GIS. For this purpose a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) (Hatziiordanou and Fitoka 2005) was carried out in accordance with the guidance o­n training of the Convention o­n Wetlands. Based o­n its findings a series of training seminars were organized and a training package is being developed. Extensive information o­n this project is available here while a summary o­ne page presentation can be accessed (both in English).

Updated on 9/27/2005 11:42:50 AM.