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No. 32

November 2009


Special Feature

DG visits North Africa

From 12 to 16 July, accompanied by Margarita Astrálaga, Director of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation in Málaga, IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre paid her first official visit to IUCN members, partners and donors in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, to consolidate joint activities in the framework of the IUCN Programme for North Africa 2008-2012.

Coordination and information events were held with national committees, relevant ministries, potential partners such as the Gene Bank in Tunisia, keen to explore collaboration opportunities with IUCN, or the CITET, which collaborates with the Ministry of Environment in Tunisia...

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Core support to the activities of the IUCN Mediterranean office is provided by the
Junta de Andalucia and the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino
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Dragonflies go thirsty in the Mediterranean

One fifth of Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies are threatened with extinction at the regional level as a result of increasing freshwater scarcity, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Climate change and habitat degradation, due to the way land is managed, are also affecting the insects, says the report.

The assessment of 163 Mediterranean dragonflies and damselflies shows five are Critically Endangered, 13 are Endangered, another 13 are Vulnerable, 27 are Near Threatened, 96 are Least Concern and six are Data Deficient, meaning there is not enough information to classify them, but they might also be threatened.

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Bleak future for Mediterranean mammals

The latest assessment of Mediterranean mammals shows that one in six is threatened with extinction at a regional level, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The study, which assesses the status of 320 mammals in the region, except whales and dolphins, finds three percent are Critically Endangered, five percent are Endangered and eight percent are Vulnerable.

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Freshwater biodiversity protection in Moulouya

Assessing and integrating freshwater biodiversity considerations in the management of the Moulouya basin in Morocco is a component of the North African part of the "Integration of freshwater biodiversity in the development process throughout Africa" project. Funded by the European Commission and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID), this IUCN initiative is being developed in Morocco in partnership with the Agency of Moulouya Watershed Basin (ABHM) and IUCN Regional Councillor Brahim Haddane. The main objectives are to assess the status of freshwater biodiversity throughout Africa and to demonstrate the application of these data in environment / development planning at four demonstration sites, Moulouya being one of them.

Key species identified and studied in the Mouloya site involve 5 freshwater taxonomic groups: fish, crabs, aquatic plants, dragonflies, and molluscs, with their corresponding habitats. In addition, training workshops have been organised for North African countries and local Moulouya freshwater experts and managers on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool to integrate diverse biodiversity data.

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A better site selection and site management for Mediterranean Aquaculture

Aquaculture is currently facing a significant challenge: how to alleviate the pressure on fish stocks exerted by commercial fishing and yet meet the increasing demand for sea products in a sustainable way. With financial support from the General Secretariat of the Sea of the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM), IUCN is publishing a series of Guides for the Sustainable Development of Mediterranean Aquaculture; the result of constructive debates between representatives from the Mediterranean industry, conservation organizations and scientists.

Volume 2, which has just been released, seeks to address the fundamental topics to be taken into account during aquaculture site selection and site management. Volume 3, to be published in the coming months, will be devoted to responsible aquaculture management practices and certification, with a view to achieve sustainability within the Mediterranean region. It includes topics such as developing codes of conduct and better aquaculture practices; implementing bases for certification schemes; examining the existing types of certification schemes; and the need for certifying sustainability.

More info: sandra.simoes@iucn.org

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MAVA Foundation visits IUCN-Med

Mediterranean biodiversity knowledge for action is one of the three key areas of interest for the Mava Foundation. Promoting nature protection in the broadest sense of the term was the aim which inspired Dr. Luc Hoffmann to establish the MAVA Foundation in 1994. From 17 and 18 September, Luc Hoffman, Jean Paul Taris and Paule Gros of the Mava Foundation visited the new IUCN-Med premises in the Science and Technology Park in Málaga to discuss over the priorities of both Mediterranean programmes and the points of convergence for future work.

Initiatives funded by Mava to IUCN-Med include the organisation of workshops and the publication of several reports on the status of conservation and geographical distribution of many Mediterranean species, amongst which the recent mammal and dragonfly red list assessments released in September, species fact sheets, and data available in three languages.

Other main IUCN donors met in Switzerland on 14, 15 and 16 September 2009, with the participation of AECID, as Spain is an IUCN framework donor, and the attendance of Margarita Astrálaga, Director of IUCN-Med.

Thanks to the support granted by the Foundation and key contributors, several IUCN led studies and publications have helped increase the level of awareness and obtain a more complete regional view of the state of the art in species conservation, accompanied by the identification of main threats and the necessary conservation measures.

On 21 October, Luc Hoffman received a homage medal from the Spanish Biodiversity Foundation and the High Council on Scientific Research (CSIC) for his life commitment to nature conservation in Spain.

More info: margarita.astralaga@iucn.org

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European and Mediterranean Interactions

From 23 to 24 September, all European Committees, Councillors and Chairs of Commissions including some Mediterranean countries were invited to participate in a meeting in Belgrade together with IUCN senior management and office directors.

The mechanisms and tools to optimise interactions between IUCN constituency and the Secretariat where reviewed, including a strategic repositioning of some IUCN offices in Pan-Europe and the reorganisation of the Brussels office tasks, with implications for the services provided by the IUCN Headquarters, Europe and the Mediterranean Secretariat to its members, commission members and national committees.

During this meeting, it was suggested that an Inter-regional Members Committee for the Mediterranean Region be established, to facilitate coordination and joint initiatives across programmes and regions in areas of common interest and relevance, particularly on tourism. The first meeting of this new committee has been proposed to coincide with the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010, probably at the end of the year.

More info: margarita.astralaga@iucn.org

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Islands of biodiversity

Parties to the Bern Convention and selected experts have participated in the first meeting of the working group on European Islands held in Tenerife from 1 to 3 October. Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, Ireland, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, Baleares and Canarias Government, CIRAD, Agencia Canaria de Desarrollo Sostenible y Cambio Climático, EPPO, GLISPA, Birdlife SEO and RSBP Scotland, Ardinia, and IUCN were present.

The themes of the meeting included the status of islands biodiversity, threats, invasive alien species, pest risks and biosecurity, climate change effects on island biodiversity, priorities for action and proposals to the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention to work on European islands. The next group meeting will be held by the end of the year in the Canary Islands.

IUCN is engaged in this process to make use of its convening capacity amongst civil society, scientists and governments to support the Bern convention and the European islands further in getting together thematic experts groups, capacity development, experience sharing on specific issues and building together tools for decision makers.

Malaga and IUCN will be hosting an international meeting on Islands from 20 to 21 November 2009, to move forward the IUCN One Programme approach, and in particular, the World Conservation Congress Resolution 4067 on Islands.

More info: margarita.astralaga@iucn.org

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Climate change impact in the Mediterranean call for measures

Under the general topic of "Adaptation to Climate Change - Experiences and Challenges in the Mediterranean", the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) members and climate experts met in Cairo from 27 to 30 September hosted by the Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs (EEAA). The objective of this gathering was to identify concrete measures to allow Mediterranean adaptation strategies to make use of the opportunities offered by the new adaptation regime, by emerging trends in renewable energies and experiences from other regions.

IUCN-Med contributed to this occasion presenting the IUCN position paper on Adaptation to Climate Change prepared for the Fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP14). The importance of an ecosystem-based approach to adaptation, poverty reduction and development planning using innovative resources and new channels was the main message resulting from the experts´ debate.

On this basis, the MCSD is expected to conclude and agree on a number of recommendations for submission at the next meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention (3-5 November, Marrakesh, Morocco). IUCN-Med and its members will contribute to this process.

More info: margarita.astralaga@iucn.org

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Diputación de Málaga and IUCN together for the Alboran Sea

The new Collaboration Agreement with the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, adopted in plenary by Malaga regional council, advocates for the protection and conservation of the Alboran Sea in cooperation with Andalusia, Morocco and Algeria.

On Monday 21 September 2009, measures envisaged in this international cooperation initiative were presented in Malaga, along with the participation of Malaga´s regional Council, member of IUCN in projects at European and international level for a better official protection of key marine areas and the promotion of more sustainable fishing methods.

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Progress on Al Hoceima biodiversity management project

The mission to Al Hoceima in Morocco from 23 to 30 September 2009 in the framework of the IUCN project for the preparation of an action plan for the Al Hoceima National Park (PNAH), has allowed for negotiations with the new Director of the Park, Ahmed Ez-zaher, government representatives and other actors in the area to move forward the several project components. Issues addressed concerned the equipment for sea zoning, reforestation options, socio-economic studies, ecotourism plans and coastal management information, marine resources and collaboration in the Cetacean Delphis 2009 initiative in partnership with AGIR Association and IPADE Foundation.

For the coming months, it is planned to follow up these activities and develop the communication strategy, a registry of associations and cooperatives active in the area, and a proposal for a support management structure in the PNAH.

By the end of the year, an event entitled "Journées du Parc National d´Al Hoceima" will provide the opportunity to present all these activities with an environmental education component. This event will gather national authorities, donors, and civil society organisations and cooperatives around the Park and will provide them with the possibility to expose their activities and challenges, identify gaps and design the future strategy for the PNAH.

More info: Alain.jeudy@iucn.org

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Joint work with Holcim

IUCN-Med and HOLCIM Spain signed a cooperation agreement in March 2009 to develop a series of common activities to integrate ecosystem conservation and restoration work in Holcim´s operations in Spain. Prior to that date, collaboration had already started with a field visit of an expert panel in June 2008, the participation of Holcim in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, and the involvement of an IUCN expert as invited speaker in the Holcim Chair for Sustainable Development at Sevilla University.

In the framework of the current agreement now coming to an end, two main activities have been developed: the Restoration Plan in Torredonjimeno Quarry and the publication of a book about Gravera El Puente in Spain. Negotiations are presently underway for the renewal of the accord to focus on the exchange of good practice, the preparation of restoration guidelines and the mutual participation in initiatives for the promotion of biodiversity, led by a multidisciplinary team from both organisations, and international experts.

More info: pedro.regato@iucn.org

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IUCN-Med new offices

The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has moved to a new building, up the same road. Please note the change: C/ Marie Curie 22 (previously 35).

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Med web in Spanish

The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation is pleased to announce that the Spanish version of the new Content Management System (CMS) IUCN site is now online.

Please visit our new web in Spanish:

IUCN-Med publishes its electronic bulletin in three languages, and makes an effort to provide news and publications in the three official languages of IUCN, subject to funding availability.

For news and documents prior to 2008, please visit the archive:

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Changes in staff

Recent changes in staff include Annabelle Cuttelod, who has moved on to the Red List Unit of the IUCN Species Programme in Cambridge, UK as of September. Dania Abdul Malak is acting coordinator for the Mediterranean Species Programme until a new candidate is selected.

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Botanic Gardens in the Mediterranean
Granada, from 7 to 9 October

Global EcoForum
Barcelona, from 26 to 28 October

Protected Areas and Climate Change Summit
Granada, from 16 to 19 November

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In the press

Uno de cada seis mamíferos mediterráneos sufre peligro de extinción
La Vanguardia

Freshwater scarcity ushers Mediterranean dragonflies toward extinction
National Geographic

Renforcer le partenariat en matière d’aires maritimes protégées
La Presse.tn

La déforestation menace le singe magot
Le Matin Maroc

Presentan un plan de acciones para proteger y conservar el Mar de Alborán

Analizan la cooperación sobre medioambiente
Diario de Córdoba

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