The idea of building a Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory was suggested by Tour du Valat at the sixth meeting of MedWet Comittee (MedWet/Com, Algeria) in 2004. The objectives were to ensure and standardise the monitoring of the status and trends of Mediterranean wetlands in the 25 members countries of MedWet. Since then, there are 27 MedWet members(1).
- In March 2007, a first international workshop was held at Tour du Valat to discuss the objectives, monitoring themes and indicators as well as the Observatory structure. Around 20 representatives of international organizations, of Mediterranean countries and NGOs participated in the workshop.
- At the Ramsar COP10 in Korea, in October 2008, the Observatory project obtained the support of the MedWet/Com, with the help of the French Ministry (MEEDDM). This gave a political dimension to the Observatory. Tour du Valat was mandated by MedWet/Com to launch the construction and implementation of the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory. Since then, a small permanent team acts as the coordination unit of this Observatory. It was decided that the main mandate of the Observatory is “to share knowledge and to help decision making towards better protection and management of wetlands”.
- Following this decision, a second international workshop was organized by Tour du Valat in March 2009. Representatives from Mediterranean countries and international conservation organizations gave the institutional kick-off to the Observatory’s activities. A work calendar 2009-2010 was approved by the participants. This provided the coordination unit with guidance and deadlines for its next steps.
- In February 2010, about 60 participants from 19 different countries participated in the third Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory workshop. They included representatives from the Secretariats of the Ramsar Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the MedWet initiative and funding agencies. The main outcomes of this workshop were the approval of the Observatory structure, organisation and partnership, the development of indicators, the kick-off of the monitoring phase and the communication plan. An approved 2010-2011 work calendar is now being implemented.
(1) Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, France, Greece, Israel, Italia, Jordan, Lebanon, Lybia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Palestinian Authority