The Mediterranean Wetland Observatory (MWO) was established in 2008 at the request of the Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com) as a multi-partner project coordinated by Tour du Valat (TdV), the Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands, based in Arles, France.
The main objective of the MWO is to act as a wetland management tool serving the MedWet Initiative’s countries. The ultimate aim of this regional tool, in collaboration with MedWet, is to help to improve political decisions regarding the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands, particularly in terms of legislation, governance and best practices.
The MWO works on several levels, from regional to national and local, in the entire Mediterranean Basin. The approach consists in preparing reports on the status (including the goods and services provided) and trends of Mediterranean wetlands through two key components: water and biodiversity, and to analyse them with regard to environmental and sustainable development policies.
This information is designed to influence decision-making processes in favour of wetland conservation and wise use. Together with partners (BirdLife International, Wetlands International, WWF-MedPO, etc.), the MWO has identified a series of subjects and indicators to help monitoring the status and trends of Mediterranean wetlands.
Despite the publication of three monitoring reports since 2012, as well as regular exchanges between the MWO and its partners, so far the impact on decision-making regarding wetlands has been limited. The recent restructuring of the MedWet Secretariat and the new dynamism of exchanges and communication with the individual countries, the Ramsar Convention, and the high-level decision-makers in the Mediterranean Basin should increase this impact.
The aim, therefore, is to reach these decision-makers through the Ramsar Convention and MedWet as well as other international agreements linked to water and biodiversity (such as the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and its regional activity centres. To this end, the MWO aims at finding the convergence between its indicators and those developed by the Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as those applicable to the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030.
In order to increase the level of ownership of MWO’s results and recommendations by national stakeholders, where possible, the global analysis of the results will be broken down into sub-regional analyses. The stakeholders are a key target of the MWO; this group will be enlarged to the networks of local civil society organizations (CSOs) close to the ground, enabling them to influence the decision makers.
When necessary, and depending upon available resources and competences, the MWO will provide technical assistance for the development of national wetland strategies/ policies adopting an integrated management of water resources approach in order to ensure that the links between water management and wetland conservation, including governance issues, are better understood and taken into account.