Since 2018, the Tour du Valat has been conducting a project entitled “Civil Society and Mediterranean Wetlands“, which aims to strengthen the means and capacities of civil society in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean basin, so that they can defend these endangered environments more effectively. In practice, this project supports two networks: the Mediterranean Wetlands Alliance and the Mediterranean Waterbirds Network.
Financed by the French Development Agency, the French Global Environment Facility, the French Office for Biodiversity and the MAVA Foundation, and involving in this first phase 12 NGOs from 9 countries, this project has allowed during its first 4 years to develop a wide range of activities for the conservation of wetlands in their countries: improvement of waterbird monitoring, micro-projects targeting specific sites or species to be preserved, trainings, and a “Red Alert” system for the most seriously threatened wetlands. Thanks to this project, more than 200 people from 150 NGOs in the Mediterranean region have received training.
A recent video summarises four years of action:
The Tour du Valat and its partners in Samsun, Turkey, from 4 to 10 March 2023 as part of the project initiated in 2018 – Assessment of the actions
An international meeting of the project partners was recently held in Samsun, a city in northern Turkey, on the Black Sea and near the beautiful Kizilirmak delta. It was an opportunity to take note of the actions of the past four years and to plan the work of the second phase, which is just beginning. In addition to the partners, other representatives of civil society (from Turkey in particular) were also invited, as well as governmental structures (Ministries, Water Agencies, etc.) from the project countries, in order to make them aware of the international networking work carried out by NGOs in their countries.
The meeting was held in the form of successive workshops of 1 or 2 days each, focusing on:
- the “Civil Society and Mediterranean Wetlands” project: assessment of Phase 1 and planning of Phase 2,
- training of trainers for emerging NGOs,
- the annual workshop of the Mediterranean Waterbirds Network,
- the annual general meeting of the Mediterranean Wetlands Alliance.
A field trip to the Kizilirmak delta in glorious weather allowed participants to discover the rich biodiversity of a major Ramsar site.
12 NGOs from around the Mediterranean worked in a network and strengthened their capacities and knowledge to better protect their wetlands:
The 2nd phase of the project, which is just beginning, will focus on capacity building for ecosystem management and restoration, a programme to monitor and control waterbird poaching, and support for student scientific research on targeted species. As field activities are essential to increase our impact on conservation, Tour du Valat is also developing another new project to enable partners to fund new small projects in-country, and to set up the ‘Green Light’ system, a system for identifying and promoting sites for restoration.