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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Follow up the project implementation
Activities report : Initiation missions and technical support of the Regional Facilitation Unit
period covered : year 2000
January 2001, by Web Team

The MedWetCoast project, which Tour du Valat and the Conservatoire du Littoral started to prepare in 1994, is funded by the Global Environment Facilities (GEF), the Fond Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) and the governments of the six countries involved. Started in September 1999, this programme must be completed in 2004. It revolves around the six national components and a regional section.

Aims of the national components

The countries involved are signatories of the Biodiversity and Ramsar Conventions and have undertaken to conduct actions for sustaining their natural heritage by means of:

- The conservation of 15 sites (wetland and coastal ecosystems) which will be valuable as examples of sustainable management and stewardship of the environment. Eventually, with a transfer of skills throughout the Mediterranean basin, each country will be able replicate and apply the management model to other sites.
- The strengthening of the legal framework and the institutional and technical structures needed for the integrated management of wetland and coastal ecosystems.
- Cooperation between local and national players, by bringing them together throughout the Mediterranean basin to draw benefits from the knowledge and skills amassed and available in the region.

Aims of the regional components

- To provide technical assistance to the national components through targeted expertise.
- To organise the exchange of experiences between partner countries and put them into practice and also to extend this action to all the Mediterranean basin.
- To develop and disseminate information to ensure a multiplier effect at national level.
- To strengthen local abilities by identifying training needs and provide support for training at national and regional level.

Tour du Valat is responsible for managing the regional component, in close collaboration with the Conservatoire du Littoral for aspects relating to coastal ecosystems, and with ATEN for training activities. Many other networks in the Mediterranean are also invited to collaborate to make best advantage of the various approaches and experiences.

As 2000 was the year in which actions were effectively started in the countries, the main activities of the Regional Facilitator were as follows:

- Start-up missions

The Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) conducted start-up missions in five countries: Albania, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. The aim of these start-up missions was to produce an inventory of the current state in terms of sites to be conserved and the local and central government structures, and also to provide support for priority actions during the project launch phase.

- Methodological support

The Regional Facilitation Unit provided national institutions with various methods and tools that have been developed and validated during MedWet projects. In addition, the support of international experts in site diagnosis should enable consistent management plans to be produced and should identify the urgent measures that need to be implemented.

A regional meeting was organised in Tunisia in February 2000 on site diagnosis to consolidate the working principles at national and regional level. The national group of experts responsible for the work was supported by international experts, in order to identify the tasks required to fulfil the project. Regular monitoring and exchanges of experiences between the different countries will be ensured by the Regional Facilitation Unit.

- Identification of training requirements

Training is an essential tool within the framework of this project for strengthening national and local capacities of site managers. Identifying training requirements enables training courses to be constructed that respond precisely to the project challenges. ATEN has conducted missions for analysing training requirements in all the countries with the exception of the Lebanon and Morocco. A regional training programme has been defined and national training plans have been proposed for the partners in each country. Two regional training courses are planned for 2001 and regular support for national training programmes will be ensured by ATEN.

- Communications

During this the first year of the project, the project’s Internet site was developed to improve the circulation of information within the MedWetCoast network. This communications tool will play a major role in identifying the role of each organisation within the project. It will be the cornerstone of the project’s communications and will create cohesion throughout the Mediterranean in terms of the project by giving impetus to the interrelations between the various partners and providing them with tools meeting their requirements.

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