Evaluation of the status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in Northern Africa

Integration of freshwater biodiversity in the development process throughout Africa: mobilising information and site demonstrations


This project was comprised within the project entitled “Integration of freshwater biodiversity in the development process throughout Africa: mobilising information and site demonstrations. The project ended in 2010.

IUCN-Med's role

The North Africa part of the project was coordinated by the IUCN - Centre for Mediterranean cooperation and covered the following countries: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The North African part of the project aimed at mobilizing existing information and expertise on freshwater biodiversity to synthesize it and make it available to all stakeholders involved in freshwater issues.


Ensure that environmental planning for water resource development throughout Africa is based on the integration of reliable information on the status, distribution and ecological requirements of freshwater biodiversity for priority taxonomic groups such as: Fishes, Aquatic Plants, Molluscs, Odonata (dragonflies) and Crustacea (crabs).

Project outcomes:

· The assessments of these five taxonomic groups were extended to the whole Mediterranean region.

· An analytical document entitled “The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Northern Africa” was published and distributed among the Mediterranean members.

· Sixty three regional experts were identified within the Mediterranean region

· Regional capacity for biodiversity assessment and data management were significantly increased through the training activities.

The Moulouya Integration of scientific knowledge in the local management plans

The Moulouya water basin in Africa was identified as a demonstration site. The work was developed in collaboration with the Agence du Bassin Hydraulic de la Moulouya (ABHM) in Morocco as well as different regional partners including the University of Oujda. The main activities involved in this demonstration site were:

· Detailed diagnosis and assessment of the aquatic biodiversity in the region: This work was developed in participation with different IUCN Specialist Groups (the Odonata specialist group…) and other local partners (University of Oujda). The diagnosis identified included field work activities, and lab. analysis.

· Establishment of a biodiversity assessment (increase the knowledge) of the species present in the 5 taxonomic groups present in the region as well as their key habitats.

· Training of the local freshwater experts and managers involved in the Moulouya basin on the use of GIS techniques.

· Presentation of the biodiversity assessment results to the local decision makers, putting in place a monitoring network for the biodiversity in the region (ABHM), and promoting the networking and the communication between the parties involved in the biodiversity management of the region.

· Outreach activities and vulgarization of the results as well as communication material on the state of biodiversity of the Moulouya in order to raise awareness to the local community (the Moulouya caravane). This activity involved previously the publishing of field guides on the fresh water flora and fauna present in the Moulouya region.

· Formulation of recommendations about the introduction of the key results obtained in the management plans of the region.


International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)

Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos (CIBIO)

Agence du Bassin Hydraulogic de la Moulouya (ABHM)

WWF; Tour du Valat, UNDP RAC/SPA, Med Wet


European Commission. Co-funding for this project was provided by the MAVA Foundation and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation Development (AECID).


January 2007 -September 2010

More information: [email protected]

IUCN-Med receives core financial support from the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucía, the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) among others.

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