International Symposium on Water and Wetlands in the Mediterranean: Updated programme and the Agadir Commitments

The International Symposium on Water and Wetlands in the Mediterranean ‘From Grado to Agadir: The next twenty years’ will be held in Agadir, Morocco from 6 to 8 February 2012. We have the honour to inform you that HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco has placed the Symposium under His High Patronage and has mandated HRH Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, to chair the opening ceremony of this event.

The Symposium will offer the opportunity to asses the progress made concerning the protection of wetlands in the last twenty years through the official launching of the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory first report.

Souss Massa National Park. Photo Credit: Alexis katsarosIt will also discuss the new challenges faced by Mediterranean wetlands and to plan for the future in a collaborative manner through six thematic sessions selected for their particular impact on the water related ecosystems. On the first day of the Symposium three thematic sessions will be held. The first on  “Ecosystem based approach to water resource management” will be facilitated by Wetlands International,  WWF- MedPo and the Global Water Partnership-Med. The second on “Adaptation to Climate Change” by the Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel (OSS) and the Union for the Mediterranean. And the third on “Human Pressures and Wetland Services” by Plan Bleu of UNEP/MAP and the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE). The second day, three more thematic sessions will be held on the “Values of wetland cultural services” facilitated by the Ramsar Culture Working Group, the World Heritage Centre and the MAVA Foundation, on “Sustainable use of Wetland Resources” by the Global Footprint Network and  Tour du Valat and on “Wetland ecosystems biodiversity and its values” by RAC/SPA of UNEP-MAP and IUCN-Med. The thematic sessions will be divided into French and English groups and we hope that the high-level partnerships coupled with participants from all over the Mediterranean will provide interesting conclusions and a strategic approach to each theme. For more information on the updated programme please click here.

Flamingoes flying over the Massa river. Photo Credit: Souss Massa National ParkAn important result of the Symposium will be the initiative on The Agadir Commitments. This will be a roster of projects that are on-going, just starting or being planned, promoted by national governments, regional and international organisations, NGOs and the private sector, and aiming at the conservation and sustainable use of water-related ecosystems in the Mediterranean. They are related to policies, strategies, administrative measures, legal instruments and frameworks, programmes, initiatives or measures at the local, national or regional level. The MedWet Secretariat will monitor the items on the list and report on them in the Agadir Symposium website, and to the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee. It will also assist in the exchange of information among those responsible for their application, so that greater synergy, cooperation and mutual support can be obtained. The Agadir Commitments will be updated and enhanced during and after the Symposium, as the identification of positive activities and projects for wetlands is an ongoing process.

The hosts of the Symposium are the Ramsar Convention and its MedWet Initiative, as well as the High Commissariat for Water, Forests and Fight against Desertification of Morocco. Key partners in the organisation of this major event are important actors in issues related to water and wetlands such BirdLife International, Global Footprint Network, Global Water Partnership-Med, Institut Mediteraneen de l’Eau, IUCN, Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel, Plan Bleu, Tour du Valat Research Centre, UNEP-MAP RAC-SPA, Wetlands International, World Heritage Centre, Union for the Mediterranean and WWF International.