MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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MedWetCoast activities report : From site diagnosis to management planning
period covered : year 2001 to may 2002
June 2002, by Web Team

Since the end of the first half of 2001, the activities of the Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) have centred upon the process of site diagnosis and the implementation of a management plan.

The results of site diagnosis studies, which took place between July 2000 and November 2001, were delivered during the regional seminar in Zaranik (Egypt). Thanks to these diagnoses, an inventory was carried out and a summary report written up on the validation of the collected data. Trends and major threats on the sites as well as topics requiring further research were identified by the RFU in August 2001, and were the subject of discussions during the regional seminar in Zaranik.

This seminar also enabled the framing of the management plan required for the project to be clarified. During the seminar, a schedule was discussed and approved for the drawing up of management plans by the end of 2002: emphasizing the results of the diagnosis; functional aspects of management planning; identification of urgent management actions; monitoring to be undertaken; long term objectives.

Developments at national level

Now that the site diagnosis phase is over for most of the countries involved in the project, the thematic and consolidated diagnosis reports are being written up and will be available on the project’s internet site in April 2002.

A legal and institutional diagnosis was begun in August 2001 in several of the national components. This is a legal and institutional audit of the methods and techniques implemented for wetland and coastal areas to which the national experts involved in these studies are contributing by lending technical support to formulate proposals and improve the efficacy of management policies.

In line with of the ongoing diagnosis process, the MedWet inventory method was identified as an essential tool in responding to national needs with regard to recording the data collected and the distribution of information. It also enabled the preparatory phase for the management planning to get underway. Regional training is planned in 2002 for this methodology and its database, as well as for the implementation of a GIS protocol for the MedWetCoast project, ensuring the compatibility of systems used and regional consistency with regard to information in all the countries involved.

A common framework for the drawing up of management plans has been prepared. This provides the national partners with an overview of the management process. This framework should help guarantee the sustainability of efforts undertaken on sites through the MedWetCoast project, in particular through the involvement of local actors and in placing the site manager at the centre of the process.

Preparation of the management plan is the subject of a schedule proposed by the RFU for the period November 2001- December 2002. Each country is to adapt this schedule according to its national context and produce management plans for each of its sites by November 2002. Considerable technical support for the provision of methodologies and the necessary expertise will be contributed by the UFR in order to implement this process.

Meeting of the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC): strategic backbone of the project

In April 2001, the first Regional Advisory Committee meeting of the MedWetCoast project took place in Rabat (Morocco). It enabled aspirations to be confirmed which determined the direction of the development phase of the project : protection of biological diversity of global interest, establishment of an institutional policy for the integrated management of wetlands and coastal ecosystems).

As a result of this meeting, the implementation of a true intersectorial policy appeared as a priority, involving local populations in association with non-governmental organisations and working towards the creation of an active network of all the actors, with the aims of capitalising on expertise and exchanging experiences.

The RAC meeting was also the occasion for the different players involved in the project to approve a logical framework, including performance indicators, for the monitoring and evaluation of the project. The project will thus adopt a common strategy with regard to monitoring and drawing up of reports which will serve as a basis for annual evaluations and intermediary reports.

During the RAC meeting, the sustainability of the project was acknowledged as being essential and within the remit of all the partners. The Regional Facilitation Unit set itself the objective for 2002 of clarifying the project’s sustainability strategy. This strategy should indicate clearly how to ensure the continuity of activities within the national institutions concerned, as well as their integration into the framework of international agreements and regional institutions, particularly those working for the conservation of wetlands and coastal areas (Ramsar, Barcelona, MAP, WWF, IUCN, etc.), by identifying forthcoming developments with concrete relationships.

The RAC’s recommendations also included the reinforcement, within the project, of South-South cooperation, on both a technical and political level. Thanks to the creation of a real network of players motivated by the protection of the Mediterranean environment the project should be able to capitalise on expertise and the exchange of experiences.

Training programme

The Regional Facilitation Unit, in close collaboration with the ATEN, detailed the themes of the training programmes to be developed for the period 2001 to 2004, and planned the regional training proposal for this period. Developing management capacities among our partners through an integrated management approach, and reinforcing their institutional capacity for the implementation of the necessary policies, are the two major areas which will be pursued over the next two years.

- Implementation of management process :

  1. February 2001, Resources and uses (Tunisia)
  2. November 2001, From site diagnosis to management planning (Zaranik, Egypt)

- Establish an institutional framework and define a national strategy for wetlands :

  1. February 2002, MedWet inventory methodology in the MedWetCoast project (Lisbon, Portugal)
  2. March 2002, Training of trainers management planning. (Azraq, Jordan)
  3. June 2002, Politicians’ study visit (France)
  4. Year 2003, Wetlands strategy (Vlora, Albania)

- Reinforce the basics of an integrated development

  1. February 2003, Public awareness raising (Beirut, Lebanon)
  2. June 2003, Participation of civil partnership (Turkey or Majorca)
  3. November 2003, Management tools for coastal areas (Oujda, Morocco)

- Reinforce the basics of an integrated development

  1. 2nd quarter 2004, Monitor and evaluate management operations

The internet site

The internet site, which plays a central role in communication within the project, provides support for the development of the MedWetCoast network. Thanks to the means of information circulation that it offers, it enables exchanges and interactions to be reinforced, and knowledge to be capitalised upon within our network of partners.

A discussion forum and "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ), both excellent communication tools, have been integrated into the site, enabling real-time interactions to take place with regard to ongoing developments and offering a forum for reflection on the future progress of the project.

As well as access to the information made available to the national components by the RFU, all the project partners will be able to participate actively in the implementation of the site and to enrich it through data entry interfaces for dynamic information delivery.

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