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Meeting report of regional technical seminar
National strategies and policies for wetlands
Beirut, Lebanon, 16-18 February 2004
Thursday 18 March 2004, by Web Team

8. Working groups : preparation towards a country-process of national wetlands policies/strategy making.

8.1 Introduction

Mr. Tomas introduced the working group session. The participants will be divided into 5 ’country’ groups: Albania, Egypt, Moro, Tunisia, Lebanon. He presented the objective of this working group, i.e. to identify the key aspects at the national level regarding the development of a strategy. The group should review:
- gaps in knowledge that are needed to be completed in order to be able to develop the strategy (eg. Inventory)
- is the current legal framework sufficient? what aspects would need to be improved?
- what aspects of the institutional and administrative context should be improved?
- Are there mechanisms of consultation and participation already in place in the country?
- tentative workplan to proceed to develop a policy, strategy or plan (setting up priorities and timing)

The objective of this session is to prepare the countries so that they have something to start with when back in their respective country. This workshop will be successful if, upon return, a process is launched in the country to develop this strategy. He mentioned that, probably, not much funding is necessary to develop this strategy and that the initial process can be carried out within the MWC project.

His presentation is attached as annex 26

8.2 Report from the Albania working group (Mr. Eno Dodiba)

1) As a first step, reviewing /updationg the wetlands inventory, which is already carried out.
2) Identifying the stakeholders and defining how they will be involved in the development of this strategy
3) Establishing an NGO Forum to facilitate their involvement in the strategy making process. The task would be to bring up the concerns from the local level.
The effort would also involve gathering lessons learned from the activities already carried out in some sites (eg Narta, Butirnti, Karavasta), so that the experiences can serve as background to the development of the strategy, highlighting the obstacles, constraints and successes.
4) As far as the other steps, it is necessary to identify potential funding partners for specific activities in the strategy: local to international donors, calling for their possible support to this strategy. Having an environmental approach but also linking to the business community: the strategy must fix protected areas status and objectives but also allow for some development to take place.
5) Timeline: 12 to 18 months with a validity of 5 to 10 years
6) the role of MWC will be to address the issue to the Ministry of Environment and other relevant authorities, to establish and coordinate a committee that will lead the preparation of the strategy and to facilitate the consultation mechanisms

8.3 Report from the Egypt working group (Mr. Esam El Badry)

1. Gaps of knowledge: he highlighted that the main problems are:
- lack of land ownership and land tenure
- lack of maps (boundaries)
- identification of threats to define
- human activities and socio-economic conditions to be further identified
- information on biodiversity in some wetlands are not yet available

2. legal framework sufficient but we need to solve the conflicts between existing laws; maybe getting an overriding law (decree) would be useful, i.e. not going through the regular channel.

3. institutional and administrative context are not adequate. The national wetlands advisory committee does exist but it needs to be empowered.

4. mechanisms of consultation and participation are in place: good consultation with government institutions and NGOs exist.

5. tentative workplan
- preparing the first draft strategy by 4 experts from different institutions.
- development of the final strategy through a) a 1-2 day workshop inviting 10 experts only to add more comments and informations (tent. March); b) conduct several workshops in the sites involving all stakeholders and actors (6 months from April to Oct) - 50 to 100 persons, similar process as the biodiversity strategy, involving representatives from various sectors and institutions - the draft will then be improved iteratively, and c) a general assembly meeting (100 participants) (tent in Nov) under the auspices of the First Lady - preparation would have to be made 6 months in advance.
- Nov-dec: finalization of the strategy.

8.4 Report from the Tunisia working group (Mr. Habib Ben Moussa)

The objective of the strategy should be ’to protect the wetlands, involve the population, and have a management plan for each site’.

In terms of knowledge, a number of tools do exist. Similarly the protection of wetlands is clearly formulated at the level of national laws. At present, only the law of APAL, covering coastal zone, envisages the preparation of management plans for the sites and allows to allocate the management to NGOs, institution or private organization.

He recalled of the institutional framework in place to support the process of national strategy making and the various organizations that can provide support in terms of knowledge, management and studies.

He reminded that there exists national mechanisms for consultation and participation, in particular the ’schema directeur d’amenagement des zones sensibles’, and the site management plan which allow for systematic public consultation.

Steps and workplan:
- Update and improvement of the knowledge of the situation
- The regulatory provisions currently available for the management of the coastal zone could be extended to the inland wetlands areas. Also the principle that water is a resource for protection of the wetlands must be confirmed.
- Institutional level: ensuring coherence and improving coordination of the actions referring to wetlands. Also one could consider the creation of a center specialized in wetlands / work is engaged towards that
- one must create a national committee for wetlands that would be connected to the CNDD and entrusted with the preparation of a national wetland strategy. Also the role of local authorities and NGOs must be strengthen and the private sector must be involved in the management process
- financial and cooperation mechanism : funding partners must be invited to participate in the efforts towards implementation of the strategy, in the framework of cooperation agreements.

His presentation is attached as annex 27

8.5 Report from the Lebanon working group (Mr. Charbel Rizk)

He reported that 15 persons participated in this working group meeting - NGOs, private sector, ministries, private owners. It was decided that this meeting would be the first informal steering committee meeting to initiate the process. A small task force was selected to initiative the process, with the Ministry of Environment as lead agency to develop the strategy and MWC as facilitator.

The first priority is to carry out an inventory assessment, a stakeholders identification and a review of the laws. Thereafter financial sourcing is essential.

The work would be at 2 levels - ministries / municipalities and users.

He reminded that they are missing some knowledge and elements.

8.6 Report from the Morocco working group (Mr. Falaki)

1) in terms of gaps in knowledge, the problem concerns particularly the limited mapping of sites, the lack of information on the legal and land tenure system, and land uses.
2) in terms of legal status: there does not exist any specific laws for wetlands protection but some regulatory tools of a general nature exist and can help. A few other relevant laws were cited : ’loi sur les etudes d’impact’, ’loi sur l’eau 10/95’. Also the law in the making on protected areas was cited as well as the proposed ’loi littoral’/coastal area law which have direct relevance to wetlands management.
3) Institutional set up: There exist a number of mechanisms for consultation and participation, some of these at the local or sub-national. In addition, there is the Ramsar committee, the ’conseil national de l’environnement’, the’comitenationalde la biodiversite’, the ’conseil superieur de l’eau et du climat’, and the ’conseil régionalsurl’environment’.
4) Tentative workplan:
- finalize and complete the inventory
- strengthen the legal and institutional framework through analysis of the legal texts, adoption of a new text for wetlands, and set up of an interministerial structure for wetlands in addition to the adoption of policy for land acquisition

Regional Meeting report of National strategies and policies for wetlands
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