“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”
Mr. Luc Hoffmann (1923 – 2016), one of the founding fathers of the Ramsar Convention and co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
“MedWet remains the first Mediterranean dialogue platform on wetlands for concerted action to benefit our region and our people. The MedWet community is powerful enough to drive the change, we have the knowledge and we have the vision. We can be strong only by acting together to address the threatening environmental challenges. Governments, civil society, research centres, and the general public across the Mediterranean are our voices and our strength to make the difference.
Let us take this anniversary opportunity to review the progress that has been made, to reflect on the lessons learned after thirty years of actions, to assess the challenges facing us today and to reaffirm our commitment to our common destiny: a “Sustainable Mediterranean Region.”
Mr Alessio Satta, the MedWet Coordinator
“It has been a real pleasure for me to serve the MedWet Initiative in the years 1995-2003 in my capacity as Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, at a time when the Secretary General chaired the meetings of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee. Those meetings in Gerba, Valencia, Izmir, and Lisbon were memorable occasions, when the MedWet flame was crackling at it best. In 2014, I offered myself to serve as the MedWet Coordinator. I wanted to reignite the flame. The Mediterranean Agora at the Ramsar COP12 (Punta del Este, Uruguay, 2015) and the MedWet/Com meeting in Paris, February 2016, were other memorable occasions. But unfortunately, I did not manage to engage the MedWet countries sufficiently, and in particular those that have the strongest capacity to lead – e.g., the EU member countries – to implement the ambitious MedWet Framework for Action 2016-2030 that was adopted in Paris. I very much hope that this 30th Anniversary will be the occasion now to rekindle the MedWet flame, so as to use the Initiative as a strong tool to promote nature-based solutions to respond to the grave challenges in front of us. The new budget of the European Commission, with its clear priorities in favour of ecology and innovation, should constitute an opportunity for the MedWet EU member countries to lead in this challenge. Long life to a MedWet at the service of our beloved Mare Nostrum and its people!”
Mr. Delmar Blasco Former Secretary-General of the Ramsar Convention and former Coordinator of MedWet
“The 30th anniversary of MedWet could be an opportunity to revisit the original idea brought forward at the Grado Conference: the creation of a ‘Mediterranean Wetland Forum’, an agora where all those interested could come together and debate wetland-related issues, agree on priorities and work together for a better future. I have the feeling that, today, the ‘forum’ role is gaining momentum again and this might be an entry point for a meaningful anniversary celebration.”
Mr. Tobias Salathé, Senior advisor, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
“One of the best things during these 30 years of diligent work for the Mediterranean wetlands is that I have made great friends . . . and that our collective effort has had a positive impact on people so that wetlands are now much better valued by society. It has been worth it!”
Ms. María José Viñals, Professor in the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain)
“Preserving our wetlands contributes to safeguarding our water resources and biodiversity, and ensuring the well-being of human populations. This is why the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (MWO) was established in 2008: to provide MedWet with a scientific arm for monitoring the region’s wetlands. The research carried out by the MWO, under the umbrella of the Tour du Valat, allows MedWet member countries to measure the progress made towards achieving their objectives in terms of protection and sustainable management of wetland ecosystems. At the beginning of a new decade in the history of MedWet, when wetlands are emerging as one of the key solutions to the dual challenge of climate change and biodiversity erosion, the Observatory role is crucial as an advisor to Mediterranean countries in the implementation of their actions for the conservation and restoration of these essential environments.”
Mr. Thomas Galewski, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory
“MedWet was my first international professional experience. I’m proud to have been part of the very first project when working at the Instituto da Conservação da Natureza (currently ICNF) in Portugal, teaming up with João Carlos Farinha and the colleagues of Wetlands International: Mike Moser, Nathalie Hecker and Pere Tomàs-Vives. What a learning experience! We were in charge of setting up standard and useful tools and methods for wetland inventory and monitoring to be used in the Mediterranean countries, together with a great advisory team of international experts. Since then, I’ve been lucky to continue in touch, as a member of the MedWet/Com, as consultant, as NGO associate, or finally as Programme Manager at the MAVA Foundation. Here, I have the pleasure of continuing supporting MedWet and to see how several organisations across the region are using and improving the original tools for wetland inventory. Consolidating the partnership of civil organisations and authorities to work towards wetland conservation and wise use of water must not stop. All my best wishes to the Initiative.”
Mr. Luis Costa, Programme Manager at the MAVA Foundation
“Having arrived late to this “adventure”, I was struck by the enormous commitment of the entire team and its fabulous welcome. I was also impressed by the great originality of the Initiative and its operation, associating States, scientific and environmental protection organizations. This respesents a transversal and operational culture to be absolutely preserved in a region where the stakes for wetlands are particularly high. One of MedWet challenges is, undoubtedly, to gain a consolidated place among all the actors in the Mediterranean. I believe that this is being achieved.
MedWet is also the human warmth and shared enthusiasm, the desire to move forward – even if it is not easy – and the shared good moments, with the magic of the Mediterranean Agora in Punta del Este (2015) and during the various meetings of the Committee and COPIL in Paris, Dubai (which was difficult!), Ljubljana, Malaga …”.
Ms. Ghislaine FERRERE, National Focal Point of the Ramsar Convention, France