The French Ministry of Ecology hosted the 12th Meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee in Paris on 7-10 February 2016 at the Palais de la Porte Dorée.
The meeting brought together government officials, national and international organizations, and wetland experts from 24 Mediterranean countries to discuss and adopt a Framework for Action 2016-2030 « Wetlands for Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean Region »
Wetlands are one of the planet’s greatest and most misunderstood natural resources. They play an important role in the supply and the maintenance of the good quality of fresh water, serve as green infrastructures to reduce the impact of floods, and have an important role in the mitigation of the impacts of climate change. They are also a source of food and raw materials for many local communities, habitat for many species, and in many cases an attraction for tourism.
The Framework for Action has been designed as an early contribution to helping countries to achieve some of the Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations in September 2015. It is expected that with an active engagement of the Mediterranean countries and the donor community, by 2030 well-managed wetlands will have made a significant contribution to the well-being of people in the region and to the effective functioning of the natural systems, especially the water and climate cycles, which are essential for sound socio-economic development.
François Mitteault, Director of Water and Biodiversity at the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ania Grobicki, Acting Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, Delmar Blasco, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), and Gordana Beltram, new chair of the MedWet Committee, closed the meeting and launched the Framework for Action at a ceremony to which Mediterranean country Ambassadors to France and to UNESCO were present, together with representatives of French institutions working in the Mediterranean region. The Paris School of Mediterranean Musics provided the right atmosphere by playing typical instruments and songs from the region.
In her closing remarks, Ania Grobicki said: “Under the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 6 on water, for the first time, there is a clear acknowledgement of this continuous link between water supply and sanitation, wastewater management, water efficiency, integrated water resources management and water-related ecosystems!” (read the entire speech here)
The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) has been established 25 years ago to stop the loss of wetlands in a region where water resources are extremely scarce. Yet urbanisation, infrastructure development and the increase of agriculture have caused the disappearance of these aquatic systems and with them the important services that they provide to nature and people.
MedWet is the most experienced of the 15 regional initiatives of the Convention on Wetlands, an international treaty that brings together 170 countries and was signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar (thus, the treaty is known as the “Ramsar Convention”). At its last meeting held in Uruguay in June 2015 (Ramsar COP12) the Ramsar member countries approved a Strategic Plan for the period 2016-2024. MedWet aims at effectively implementing the Ramsar plan in the Mediterranean by mobilizing governments, civil society organizations, research centres and the donor community in a common effort to bring about a more sustainable and long-lasting development.
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Maïlis Renaudin, MedWet Communications officer,
Want to know more about wetlands? Look at our cartoon here
Photo credits: © Cyril Abad l HansLucas
Visit the album of the MedWet/Com 12