Welcoming a practical guide for the governance of Mediterranean coastal wetlands

A practical guide on “Governance of Coastal Wetlands in the Mediterranean – a Handbook”, was elaborated and launched, with contributions by Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) by its Chair, Prof. M. Scoullos.

This Handbook is designed as a practical guide for the governance of coastal wetlands around the Mediterranean, whether they are formally protected as Ramsar Sites, those designated under national or local legislation, or those lacking any formal protection. It takes into account the principles and practice of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), and the tools offered by the two relevant conventions: the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP).

Contributions to the content of the Handbook were made by the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet), the IUCN Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (IUCN ECARO), the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) and the Network of Marine Protected Areas Managers in the Mediterranean (MedPan).

The Handbook has been developed as part of the overarching initiative of the MAVA Foundation ‘Coastal Wetland Action Plan’. Its preparation was initiated by the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), coordinated and published under its leadership, with B. Shipman and Ž. Rajković as key authors. It was supported by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the MAVA Foundation for Nature.

Despite their benefits for nature and human beings, Mediterranean wetlands, especially those on the coasts, are among the most fragile and threatened ecosystems and are declining at an alarming rate. It is urgent therefore to promote actions to achieve the preservation of the coastal and island wetlands of high ecological values. This should create an enabling environment for sustainable conditions and uses of these ecosystems, through the mechanisms of good, effective and equitable governance.

Valuable insights and reflections for the preparation of this Handbook were also provided by the following Mediterranean wetlands:

  • Oristano Gulf (Maristanis project), on the western Sardinian coast, Italy;
  • Ghar el Melh Lagoon, 30 km southeast of the town of Bizerte in Tunisia;
  • Lower Delta of the Bojana-Buna River, with pilots in Ulcinj Salina, Montenegro;
  • The Buna River-Velipoje Protected Landscape, Albania, as well as
  • The Transboundary ‘Prespa Park’, a protected area including the Prespa Lakes and their surroundings extending over the boundaries of Greece, Albania, and the Republic of North Macedonia.

In December 2019, in Rabat, GWP-Med and partners, including the MAVA-supported ‘Off Your Map’ Campaign led by MedWet, organized dialogue and training events for Parliamentarians , Media and NGOs, on the same subject including with a focus on addressing Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem Nexus considerations.

You can download the Handbook in PDF. The Handbook also contains linked, easy to use, on-line planning tools to help design efficient governance models. Download the Self-Assessment and Planning Tool (Beta version) in xlsx.