The conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity from science to actions

Every year, on 22 May, the world celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB). This year’s IDB focuses on biodiversity as the foundation for our food and health and as a key catalyst for transforming food systems and improving human well-being. The theme also celebrates the diversity provided by our natural systems for human existence and well-being on Earth, while contributing to other Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystem restoration, cleaner water and zero hunger, among others.

Here an overview of the situation of biodiversity data and information in the Mediterranean region.

A platform for sharing knowledge and valuable GIS data on biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean region

Thanks to the support of the MAVA Foundation, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) has launched an exciting collaborative storytelling platform for sharing knowledge and valuable GIS data on biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean region. The new platform “MED CONSERVATION MAPS”  aims to increase the visibility of information and data generated in collaboration with the expert conservation community in the region in recent years. It tackles key challenges, including increasing the visibility of conservation data, making them shareable, and turning them into tangible conservation actions.



The platform provides a combination of authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content based on publications and reports edited by IUCN-Med in collaboration with other key stakeholders in the Mediterranean region.

To make the platform a dynamic collaboration space, it is open to other partners interested in sharing GIS information through story maps on biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean. The most innovative aspect of this platform is that it makes it possible both to download these geo-referenced maps and to display them on other geoportals.

Visit the website of the platform ‘MED CONSERVATION MAPS’
Read the article written by IUCN-Med about the platform here.
For further enquiries or if you wish to submit your own story, please contact
Lourdes Lazaro, from UICN-Med at


Engagement of MedWet to preserve the Mediterranean biodiversity

For more than 30 years, MedWet has devoted efforts to promote the understanding of the important role of wetlands in conserving biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin, to inform decision-makers about the status of these ecosystems, and to identify the knowledge gaps that prevent taking the appropriate actions to conserve them. To do this work, MedWet promoted the establishment of the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (MWO), functioning under the umbrella of Tour du Valat since 2008, and the Scientific and Technical Network (MedWet/STN), established in 2016 and composed of five working groups, including the Biodiversity Specialist Group.

By providing shapefiles for the map and analysis as well as biodiversity data, it is possible to contribute to increasing the visibility of key information useful for the conservation of the most threatened species in the region.



The Biodiversity Specialist Group (MedWet/STN/SG/Biodiversity) has recently produced a technical leaflet that showcases the status of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and the threats that many species are facing in the region.

The Biodiversity Specialist Group is one of the five Specialist Groups constituting the MedWet/STN. It is made up of 15 experts from 13 countries in a wide variety of disciplines, who contribute to different aspects related to biodiversity.

Download the technical leaflet here.






On the occasion of the Ramsar COP13 (Dubaï, United Arab Emirates, 21-29 October 2018), the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory has published its new report “Mediterranean Wetlands Outlook 2: Solutions for sustainable Mediterranean wetlands (MWO2)”

The report presents the socio-economic situation, trends for  Mediterranean wetlands, their benefits and their values, and includes key messages for decision makers.

Learn more about the report here.





In addition, one of the most important MedWet commitments is communicating about the importance of Mediterranean wetlands and the sustainable use of its resources. MedWet is coordinating the “Off Your Map” campaign on Mediterranean Coastal Wetlands, funded by the MAVA Foundation, to demonstrate that it’s time for each of us to see Coastal Wetlands for the rich natural resource they are and not let them be wiped off the map, but rather to manage them responsibly before they are lost forever.

Visit the website of the campaign :




Biodiversity in the Mediterranean wetlands: Unique species and ecosystems under threat

The Mediterranean region has been identified as one of the 34 world hotspots for biological diversity, characterised by exceptional rates of endemism. Mediterranean wetlands are rich and diverse ecosystems, and they have a disproportionate importance for biodiversity. For example, 30% of vertebrate species found in the Mediterranean hotspot are wetland-dependent (i.e., species which require wetlands to complete their life cycle), despite the fact that wetlands only represent 2-3% of the terrestrial surface area of the hotspot.

According to the Mediterranean Wetlands Outlook 2, 36% of wetland-dependent species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, dragonflies and damselflies, and molluscs are threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean Basin. The proportion of species threatened varies considerably among groups: 53% of the molluscs and 40% of the fish are threatened, but only 11% of the dragonflies & damselflies, and 7% of the birds.

The alarming conservation status of freshwater molluscs and fish can be explained by the serious degradation of their habitats (watercourses and groundwater), and their limited mobility. The main threats are poor water quality due to agricultural and urban pollution, dams that isolate populations and destroy their habitats, the reduced quantity of water in the wetlands because of pumping, and climate change.


Aphanius sirhani, a fish species endemic to the Azraq oasis in Jordan. It is critically endangered, due to overuse of water and the introduction of invasive species such as the Tilapia. © N. Hamidan


To try to mitigate such a negative trend, over the years a dynamic and collaborative conservation community, made up of  stakeholders, NGOs, research centres and international organizations operating in the Mediterranean, is working in synergy to address these issues and ensure a better future for the many species under threat.


More information

Website of the IDB 2019: