The IUCN Mediterranean Conservation Forum and the 10th Anniversary of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation took place in Malaga, Spain from the 22nd to the 25th November 2010. It was an opportunity to note the end of the International Year of Biodiversity and establishing the base to measure progress toward post 2010 objectives in the region.
The event attracted a diverse audience, representatives and decision makers from governments, NGO’s, the scientific community and the private sector. MedWet was represented by the Interim Coordinator Nejib Benessaiah. In the evening of Monday 22 November at the Albeniz Theatre in Malaga, Julia Marton-Lefevre the IUCN General Director opened the 10th anniversary ceremony of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation followed by two Ramsar/MedWet focal points, Mohamed Endichi, new Director for Desertification and Nature Protection from Morocco and Patrick Van Klaveren, Ambassador of Monaco. The Spanish Ministry of Environment was represented by the General Director of Natural Environment and Forestry Mr Garcia-Herrera and the local authorities by the Vice-president of the Diputacion Provincial of Malaga, the Minister of Environment of Andalucia and the Mayor of Malaga. The 10th Anniversary of IUCN Centre was marked by the signature of cooperation agreements between IUCN-Med and partners and the awards ceremony of the IUCN-Med photography competition. The event was closed by a short but entertaining musical concert.
The discussions began on Tuesday 23rd was an extremely intensive day with two plenary sessions addressing the following issues and several speakers in each session. The first session was titled “Towards a sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean basin” and was chaired by Brahim Haddane, IUCN Regional Councilor from Morocco. The second session had two parts, the first, chaired by Mustafa Fouda from Egypt, discussed “Nature conservation as an asset for rural development” and the second chaired by Christophe Lefevre, IUCN-Med Coordinator was on the “Conservation of marine ecosystems: submarine canyons”. The next sessions were based around the “Role of international cooperation in the Mediterranean” chaired by Ali Darwish, IUCN Regional Councilor from Jordan and the “Role of foundations for the biodiversity conservation” chaired by Mohamad Shahbaz IUCN Regional Councilor from Jordan.
The third day saw one plenary session on the “Euro-Mediterranean policies and Mediterranean natural resources” chaired by Christophe Lefevre, a particularly useful session for practical guidance on EU financing tools among others. The rest of the day was divided into technical workshops on “Marine governance in the Mediterranean Sea”, “Biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean: perspectives and challenges”, “Biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean: Perspectives and Challenges”, “Mediterranean marine and coastal areas conservation and management” in which MedWet participated, “Mountain, forest and global change in the Mediterranean” and “Energy networks and resources”. MedWet was part of the fourth workshop and reinforced the strong links between the coastal wetlands protection and the marine protected areas and that in fact coastal wetlands are a key part of Integrated Coastal Zones Management. Finally, it was mentioned that reinforcing the cooperation between all sectors and stakeholders though participatory networks like the MedWet network in the Mediterranean will foster the better conservation of coastal wetlands by many stakeholders.
In MedWet we believe that the activities undertaken by IUCN-Med region, complementary to the work done by MedWet, have proven successful and have managed to reinforce cooperation links and focus in this diverse and yet coherent region .IUCN is a member of the Mediterranean Wetland Committee and has proven a powerful ally in the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands and MedWet activities. With this opportunity we would like to note our full support of IUCN-Med activities and to wish them the best of progress in their future.
Photo credit: Joao Carlos Farinha