The Observatory has adopted a holistic approach in monitoring and assessing wetlands. This approach requires an upstream and downstream review of the wetlands sector at the policy, institutional, technical and social levels.
It takes also into account, in analysis, major cross cutting issues such as food security, socio-economic development and global changes.
Thus, the Observatory has launched a series of priority strategic initiatives to develop a strong monitoring, diagnosis and analysis capacity:
A regional reference of wetlands: The Tour du Valat and the Observatory have been involved for a long period in developing wetlands inventories. This initiative aims at establishing a harmonized and dynamic wetlands inventory system in the Mediterranean region.
- Complementarily and synergies between observatories: since 2007, MWO is encouraging synergies with local wetlands observatories for a mutual benefit in accessing data, in monitoring indicators, in communication and transferring knowledge.
- Regional mapping references: since 2009, the strong involvement of the MWO in GlobWetland II project aims at building a monitoring system using satellite images in 11 Southern and Eastern countries of the Mediterranean. The monitoring should allow tracking changes in land use and land cover, in and around the main wetlands, at different dates. A similar approach is launched in Northern countries with the European Thematic Center on Land Use and Spatial Information of the European Environmental Agency.
- A wetland site approach to test indicators: since 2009, the MWO has adopted a site approach by sub-region of the Mediterranean in order to test a set of biodiversity indicators. At a latter stage, the results may be adapted and up taken at the Mediterranean level.
- A multi-species database to create a composite biodiversity indicator for the Mediterranean Basin: since 2009, MWO is developing a multi-species database (Vertebrates) adapted to the Mediterranean wetlands. This work is based on monitoring data collected in a large number of wetland sites. This initiative intends to build more realistic biodiversity indicators taking into account animal communities in their entirety and not only few “key-species”. It should also allow monitoring biodiversity trends and structural changes in the past decades.
- Wetlands and sustainable development: ongoing construction
- Ecological services: ongoing construction