In spite of providing important ecosystem services for free, especially those related to water, Mediterranean wetlands suffer from some human activities that lead to the overexploitation of this natural resource, such as intensive agriculture, hydropower, and water storage plants.
To tackle this problem, seven international partners have started a new project aiming to develop a “Capacity Building Platform on Water Management and Abstraction” in the Mediterranean Basin. The main objective of the platform is to reduce the impact of water abstraction and unsustainable use on the biodiversity and the functioning of wetland ecosystems in the Mediterranean. The inception meeting of this project took place in Tunis (Tunisia) on the 11th of July 2018.
This new initiative is supported by the MAVA Foundation and coordinated by Wetlands International in partnership with the Global Water Partnership–Mediterranean (GWP-Med), the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med), the IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (IUCN ROWA), MedWet, the Tour du Valat, and WWF North Africa.
The project will run for three years and focus on two pilot basins: Oued Sebou basin (Morocco) and Wadi Mujib basin (Jordan). A third pilot location will also be added by the end of the project, as a replicant basin; the Medjerda basin (between Algeria and Tunisia) and including the Ghar El Melh coastal wetlands in northern Tunisia.
The project will promote a dialogue about water allocation and integrated management at the catchment scale. This should ensure that all stakeholders, coming from different socio-economic sectors and the civil society, can work together in order to encourage a better and more sustainable use of surface and underground water resources.
This sustainable development approach should also ensure better maintenance of the ecological functioning of these basins, including all their wetland ecosystems.
The focus will be placed on water abstraction and the key sectors driving it, especially agriculture. The project will support and help to develop the capacity of the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) to influence the policy choices and the planning and implementation of water-related developments and management across the Mediterranean.
Furthermore, it will strongly focus on working through the frameworks of Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) using the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus approach.
What is the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus approach?
This approach highlights the existing interdependencies to achieve water, energy and food security for human well-being while ensuring an ecologically sustainable use of natural resources.
The Nexus approach is a fundamental shift from a purely sectoral approach to solutions that embrace a cross-sectoral, coherent and integrated perspective. The three “supply securities” (water, energy and food) depend on ecosystems and on each other. All natural resources needed for these three “supply securities” (land, water, atmosphere, etc.) are part of the ecosystems and must be used in a sustainable manner.
Read more about the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus approach here.
In order to better prepare the implementation of the project, the GWP-Med has organized a two-day training workshop for the benefit of all of the project-team (9-10 July 2018) on the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems Nexus approach.
During this training opportunity, the participants discussed how the Nexus approach can help in the implementation of the MAVA projects in the different pilot basins.
They also exchanged ideas about the benefits of using the approach, its focus, the entry points for its application, and all of the different challenges, especially how to mobilize the relevant stakeholders to improve the governance at local, basin and national levels.
An active partnership
Partners will work closely and effectively together, building and capitalizing on each other’s strengths. By creating the overarching capacity building platform and coordinating actions in the priority basins, greater value will be added to existing initiatives. In addition, through the development of a joint regional advocacy strategy, partners and CSOs will increase their lobbying impact across the region. The project should also facilitate the development of CSOs’ project proposals and help them to access new donors.
Frank Hoffmann, Project Manager, Wetlands International
Khaled Bedoui, GWP-Med