Tunisia designates fifteen new Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance: Official Ramsar sites certificates given during the Agadir Symposium

On the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2012, Tunisia’s Direction Générale des Forêts, the Ramsar Convention’s administrative authority, designated fifteen new Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. Tunisia now has 35 Ramsar Sites covering an area of 821,009 hectares.

The Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Mr Anada Tiega, took the opportunity of the International Symposium of Water and Wetlands in the Mediterranean in Agadir, Morocco, to give the official Ramsar Wetland of International Importance site certificates to Tunisia’s representative in the Symposium, Mr Habib Abid. The message of the Ramsar Convention was intended to reward Tunisia for it’s hard work and commitment to protecting its wetlands.

The preparatory work to support these new designations was carried out with support from the WWF International Freshwater Programme, WWF Mediterranean Programme, WWF Tunis Office, and the MAVA Foundation. “These designations are the result of a long process that requires effort and time from the government and conservation groups,” said by Mr Faouzi Maamouri, Coordinator of the WWF office in Tunisia.  “But even with everything this country has been through recently, there is a strong commitment to protecting wetlands and the services they provide for both people and nature.”

The new designations include six dams and reservoirs, four permanent or intermittent saline lakes, two marine areas, two freshwater sources and the famous Gorges de Thelja. The new designated sites have fascinating features like for example the Chott Elguetar, a remote seasonal salt lake on the edge of the Sahara. This site is vital to the survival of the threatened Scimitar Oryx, Addax and Dama Gazelle and also contains traces of human religious and industrial activity that have been dated back 40,000 years. For more site specific information please click here.