The launch meeting of the wetlands protection project was held at the Hôtel Belvédère in Tunis, on 10 October at 9 am, in presence of Salem Triki, Director General of Forests, Gilles Chausse, Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Tunis, and Jean Jalbert, Director of the Tour du Valat.
Wetlands in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Basin are continuing to be eliminated and degraded at an alarming rate. This trend is leading to a decline in the biodiversity of these wetlands and the many services they provide to local communities. Migratory waterbirds such as ducks, geese, herons, gulls, and terns are a major component of the biodiversity of Mediterranean wetlands (see the Tour du Valat’s Mediterranean Waterbird Network project).
In response to this challenge, in collaboration with numerous NGOs and Mediterranean institutions, the Tour du Valat has designed a wetlands protection project for seven countries in the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan). The project will help improve the technical, organisational, and managerial skills of 10 associations in the countries concerned, which in turn will build the capacities of a further 20 associations involved in wetlands and sustainable development.
The project is 50% funded by the French Development Agency (AFD).
Concretely, the project will enable:
- The development and implementation of 6 micro-projects by civil-society organisations in high-value biodiversity and cultural heritage wetlands;
- The implementation, based on a precise methodology, of a “red alert” system aimed at providing support and solutions for seriously threatened wetlands, via the Mediterranean Wetlands Alliance;
- The development and setting up of the waterbird census network as the standardised indicator of the ecological status of wetlands.
The Tour du Valat Foundation
The Tour du Valat Research Institute for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands was founded more than 60 years ago by Luc Hoffmann. It has always had the guiding principle for its development of understanding wetlands better to be able to manage them better. Convinced that these threatened habitats can only be preserved if human activities and natural heritage protection go hand in hand, for many years the Tour du Valat has developed research and integrated management programmes that foster exchange between users and scientists, mobilise a community of stakeholders, and promote the benefits of wetlands among decision-makers.
The French Development Agency (AFD)
The AFD is a public and social-solidarity funding institution, and a key stakeholder in French development policy. We are committed to projects that concretely improve the daily life of people in developing and emerging countries, in compliance with sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the priorities of France’s foreign affairs actions. Present in 109 countries via a network of 85 agencies, we are currently assisting more than 3,500 development projects. The conservation of biodiversity is a priority for France and the AFD contributes to the French commitment to reducing the deterioration of biodiversity. In 2017, the AFD financed €314 M worth of projects including a biodiversity component in the countries where it carries out its work.