MedWet – Thirty years of engagement for wetlands and people in the Mediterranean

 

The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), the first regional initiative under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021. The anniversary comes at a time of growing momentum to achieve a more sustainable future for the Mediterranean region. Established in 1991, MedWet already has a history of sharing knowledge, tools and technical capacities between governmental institutions and civil society working on wetlands in the Mediterranean.

“MedWet’s strength lies in its ability to bring together all those concerned by Mediterranean wetlands – from decision makers to field staff – to convince them of the need for good professional capabilities for management and restoration and to provide them with the tools for implementation,” said the late Luc Hoffmann (1923 – 2016), one of the founding fathers of the Ramsar Convention and co-founder of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

 

MedWet’s anniversary comes at a time of global crisis that is changing our world, starting from a changing climate and biodiversity loss and now with a pandemic affecting people’s health, lives and livelihoods with severe economic and social impacts.

But, we don’t have time to waste. Wetlands are disappearing and biodiversity is being lost at alarming rates. Climate change is currently at work in the Mediterranean and poses fundamental threats to the homes and lives of millions of people and to ecosystems on which depend their livelihoods and economies. Under the circumstances, can we build a sustainable future with resilient ecosystems for the Mediterranean region? Is it a race that we can win?!

Yet, one hand cannot clap alone! No one government or organisation can save Mediterranean ecosystems and achieve a sustainable future by itself – we must cooperate together to get things done. With its 30 years of experience, the Mediterranean needs more than ever a strong MedWet, with its vision and long-term collaborative efforts among Mediterranean governments, entities, international organisations, wetland centres and NGOs.

While 2021 marks a significant milestone for MedWet, it also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands which holds the unique distinction of being the first modern-day global environmental treaty. The treaty was signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.

“The 30th anniversary of MedWet and the 50th of the Ramsar Convention is a fantastic opportunity to evaluate our achievements in wetland conservation in recent decades and at the same time a call for action to accelerate our efforts to support wetlands restoration, and to prevent, stop and reverse the trends of their loss. With the rapidly growing pressures on the Mediterranean region and its ecosystems, only by working together we can make a difference”, says Mr Alessio Satta, the MedWet Coordinator.

Let us celebrate together the wetlands that bring hope to our Earth.