IUCN Mediterranean pledges for a laboratory of cooperation and communication

25 November 2010 | International news release

Malaga, Spain, 25 November 2010 (IUCN-Med) – After several days of information and debate between public administrations, NGO’s and researchers of 21 countries meeting in Malaga, the Mediterranean Forum of the International Union for Conservation of Nature has presented their conclusions: we urgently need to clarify the importance of biodiversity to society through concrete actions, and IUCN should lead the coordination of efforts for a rational use of available resources and promote intelligent development between the North and South Mediterranean area.

From sustainable tourism to climate change adaptation, the IUCN Centre of Mediterranean Cooperation has addressed the main initiatives and projects being developed in the region with the participation of international institutions such as the Mediterranean Action Plan for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the European Environment Agency or the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC∕SPA), representatives of various ministries of environment and development of Mediterranean countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, France and Spain, NGOs from across the region as the WWF Mediterranean Programme and IUCN partners and members.

During the technical sessions and the closing session, participants have made an appeal to IUCN in order to obtain a greater coordination between members, institutions and sectors, working on the standardisation of data and messages to convey intangible and economic values that support healthy biodiversity for the wellbeing of everyone. The role of IUCN as a bridge between science, politics, biodiversity and society in general, should be strengthened further, especially given the unique ecology of the Mediterranean zone, which has been classified as a hotspot for biodiversity at a global level and sociopolitical setting and also a diverse location, but with limited natural resources in common, whose maintenance is the responsibility of everyone.

The participants in the IUCN Mediterranean Forum in Malaga over these days have especially appreciated IUCN’s convening power, creating opportunities as the Forum so that various bodies can meet and exchange first hand experiences, obtain more information and establish new links between potential funding sources for activities in conservation and needs identified in specific areas. Although the data on biodiversity in the Mediterranean is increasing at both a regional and national or thematic level, IUCN should also identify the best tools to monitor and interpret this data and analyze biodiversity trends, becoming an observatory or a regional laboratory based on the cooperation between countries and economy sectors and the politics that serve as an example for other world regions.

The commitment to innovation in the areas of cooperation should also use new distribution channels of information in order to ensure that information reaches managers, land users and the goods offered. IUCN should continue to help and improve the capacity of institutions of all kinds to make decisions through a participatory approach and deal with threats of biodiversity loss with a clear, global message: conservation is not a luxury, it is a necessary investment that creates employment and ensures the smooth functioning of nature in the medium and long term for the benefit of present and future generations

The IUCN Centre of Mediterranean Cooperation will analyze the contributions from the participants in the upcoming weeks in order to complement the work programme of IUCN members in the Mediterranean.

About the IUCN Mediterranean Forum
The IUCN Mediterranean Forum was inaugurated on the 22nd November with a series of public acts in the Albeniz Theatre and the Town Hall of Malaga, with the celebration of the10th anniversary of the IUCN Center of Mediterranean Cooperation. The other sessions and workshops were held on the 23rd and 24th November 2010 at the Diputación Provincial of Malaga, and finished on Thursday with a visit to the Sierra de las Nieves, Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of the Mediterranean.

The organization of the Forum by the IUCN Center of Mediterranean Cooperation received support from the Ministry of Environment of Rural and Marine Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucia, FEADER, the Town Hall of Malaga, Diputación of Malaga, Foundation of Three Cultures, French Agency of Marine Protected Areas, MAVA Foundation in Switzerland, Cámara de Comercio of Malaga - Euro Mediterranean Centre of Knowledge, Innovation and Training in Tourism, Red Eléctrica of Spain, and the participation of more than 200 delegates from various Mediterranean countries.