Completion of the 10th Mediterranean Wetlands Committee Meeting

The 10th Meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee was successfully completed in Borgo, which is situated near Bastia, in Corsica, France. The MedWet/Com 10 Meeting took place  from Sunday May 30th to Thursday June 4th 2010, at the invitation of the French government and the Ramsar Convention o­n Wetlands. The meeting was attended by 167 participants from various Mediterranean countries, the host country and region and also eighteen students from the Collège d’Ile Rousse in Corsica.

Through the following link you can download the Working & Information Documents,  which includes the Meeting Agenda and List of Participants. Once completed, the conclusions of the Workshops and all adopted documentation will also be published on this site.

1. On the left Mr. Nejib Benessaiah- MedWet Interim Coordinator, in the middle Mr. Anada Tiega- Ramsar Secretary General and Mrs. Brigitte DeBeuf- Director of the Corsican Environmental Authority

The welcoming speech of the meeting was delivered by the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Mr.Anada Tiega, followed by Mr. Jean-Claude Vial on behalf the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea. Also, throughout the four days of the meeting a number of receptions and dinners were hosted by Administrative Authorities of Corsica (President of the Local Authority, President of the Executive Council of the Territorial Community of Corsica, General Council of North Corsica), who welcomed the participants of the MedWet/Com 10 and showed their appreciation to the work accomplished by the MedWet Initiative.

The meeting included, initially, a number of  presentations by the host country and the host region, who presented their wetlands and wetland strategies. The MedWet/Com 10 participants also had the opportunity to experience this natural beauty in situ on the first and second day of the meeting (Biguglia Reserve, Bouches de Bonifacio, Étangs de la Plaine Orientale). During the four plenary sessions of the meeting, the MedWet Secretariat presented its finances, other administrative matters and projects which led to a consultation between the members before reaching the adoption of the final documents. The importance of active collaboration between the members and participants, in order to improve the overall functioning of the MedWet initiative, was stressed by all the partakers. The third day of the meeting gave the opportunity to members of the MedWet network to present projects and partner networks with the use of multimedia tools (computer projection, internet use, short film screening). This opportunity was taken up by a number of speakers whose presentations of their projects not only provided an insight on the state of contemporary wetland conservation and management, but also touched on the reality of social, environmental and legislative differences across the Mediterranean basin. A detailed list of the projects and presenters can be found on the meeting agenda.

Two important novel ideas were piloted in this years MedWet/Com Meeting. Firstly,  on Monday 31st of May,  the first day of the meeting, the morning session was open to the public and included an exhibition of local culture, traditions and products. This part of the programme aimed to engage the local population in this large event and to give the members of the MedWet/Com 10 the opportunity to get a taste of the local flavour. The session attracted various people of the public and residents of the hotel who created the ideal setting for the opening discussions. The second addition was the inclusion of a presentation by Collège d’Ile Rousse, whose students’ reported on their experience and conclusions on shared use of wetland resources and demonstrated the value of environmental awareness projects.

2. The students of the College Ile Rousse during the field trip to the Bouches de Bonifacio

The multi-stakeholder role playing game in which they participated in had an immediate effect on their realisation, as they acknowledged, of the complexity of encountering appropriate solutions to environmental problems. The role playing game was implemented mainly through the students and their teachers, especially Martine Phillibert, whose motivation for environmental education made it possible along with the support of the MedWet Secretariat and the DREAL Corse (Direction Régionale de L’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement). This effort was recognized by the entire meeting and the need for future projects of similar nature was widely endorsed as necessary for the promotion of wetland conservation and sustainable management.

The technical session’s theme was “Transboundary cooperation for the protection and sustainable use of Mediterranean wetlands” and was linked to the excursion, as the “Bouches de Bonifacio” o­n the side of Corsica and “Magdalena” o­n the side of Sardinia are exactly the type of sites that would benefit from the type of inter-regional cooperation that MedWet is empowering. The  technical session was concluded by bringing together the conclusions of three workshop groups  that focused on different issues of wetland conservation [(a)Ecosystems, Habitats and Biodiversity, (b)Fishing and Marine Resources, (c)Tourism and Carrying Capacity].

All the sessions of the 10th Meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee were held at the “Hotel Club Belambra”, where the participants were also lodged. The hotel provided the appropriate setting as it is situated in front of the Biguglia Reserve, 8 km from Bastia, also a Ramsar site.

The MedWet Secretariat is very grateful to the French Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Sea and especially the DREAL Corse (Direction Régionale de L’Environnement, de l’Aménagement et du Logement) for their continuing help and support o­n the organisation of this meeting.

Photo credit for cover picture: Laurent Chazee

Photo 1: Constantine Azarias

Photo 2: Nejib Benessaiah