How to reconcile the economic development and protection of natural sites of international importance in the Mediterranean? – The role of international cooperation and civil society in Tunisia

Thirty representatives of civil society organizations and key actors of wetland conservation in Tunisia participated on February 9, 2022 in the Knowledge café under the theme “How to reconcile the economic development and protection of natural sites of international importance in the Mediterranean? – The role of international cooperation and the civil society in Tunisia”. The digital event was co-organized by MedWet, CIHEAM Montpellier, and WWF North Africa, with the support of the French Biodiversity Agency, in the framework of the celebration of World Wetlands Day 2022 in Tunisia.



First, Mr. Abderrahim Smari (MedWet) presented the MedWet Initiative, the unique cooperation platform for sharing information and technical capacities between institutions, scientists and civil society. He gave an overview of its mission, its bodies and its synergies with intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. He also presented the role and the added value of the MedWet Managers’ Network, which is a Mediterranean membership network of wetland managers dedicated to fostering best management practices, knowledge exchange, and public education about wetland values and services. You can find the presentation here.

Then, Ms. Sana Mezoughi, from MedWet, presented the “World Wetlands Day (WWD) in the Mediterranean” project coordinated by MedWet, and the key elements of success for the promotion of WWD at the regional level. She took the opportunity to highlight the activities of the Tunisian civil society that have been developed with the financial support of the French Biodiversity Agency in the framework of the WWD celebration through the testimony of three non-governmental organisations (IRADA Tozeur, AJEM, AREMS Sousse). The videos are available on youtube here. She also shared with the participants the wider role of MedWet in supporting the protection of wetlands in the Mediterranean. You can find the presentation here.

Following that, Ms. Meriam ben Zakour, from WWF North Africa, presented the GEMWET Project “Conservation and sustainable development of wetlands with high ecological value” implemented in Ghar El Melh by a set of national and regional partners led by WWF North Africa. The main objective of the project is to promote more sustainable development around the wetlands of the Ramsar city of Ghar El Melh through the identification and implementation of solutions to the problems identified in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Finally, Mr. Zied Ahmed (CIHEAM Montpellier) presented, through the results of the DEVLOK project, the role played by the economic enterprises, installed within the framework of the project, in the preservation and enhancement of wetlands of the Kerkennah archipelago. He gave the example of the “Kerkennah Plastic Free” strategy implemented in collaboration with WWF North Africa, which has enabled local companies to strengthen their role in the clean-up of Kerkennah wetlands from plastic waste. In addition, he highlighted the new alternative tourism companies which, through the tourist offers they propose, value these wetlands and make their clients aware of the need to preserve these fragile ecosystems. You can find the presentation here.

Environmental civil society organisations have become key players in environmental protection. MedWet is convinced that the involvement of civil society in the protection of wetlands is of great importance and is imperative, given the active role they play in this field. For this reason, MedWet is creating synergies with Mediterranean NGOs to develop coordinated actions in favour of wetlands in the region.


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Watch the event online on Youtube: