The Mediterranean basin is one of the regions in the world in which there is the most economic, political, social, religious, and, of course, environmental tension. The ecological footprint in the Mediterranean region is nearly twice the worldwide average. In particular, the pressure on water resources is so great that the medium-term availability of water is in jeopardy in several countries.
In this context of increasing pressure, wetlands play a key functional role -- contributing to biodiversity and rendering services to the general community -- which must be better understood, shared, and promoted. In particular, wetlands are indispensable for the wise management of water resources both qualitatively and quantitatively.
In order to respond to this societal issue, which has become increasingly clear over the past few decades, the Tour du Valat wetlands conservation research centre wanted to re-define the medium- and long-term actions corresponding to its vision, so that they would be more pertinent, effective, and efficient in terms of achieving its mission:
To halt and reverse the destruction and degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and their natural resources, and promote their wise use.
Tomorrow’s challenges cannot be met with today’s tools alone. New approaches and methods must be imagined in terms of knowledge, organisation, and action. The Tour du Valat, an organisation of concerned scientists, has been developing its expertise and broad network of scientific, technical, institutional, and financial partnerships for nearly sixty years, and is committed to providing concrete and operational responses to these challenges.
Our strategic positioning, which we defined by comparing the principal conservation issues in Mediterranean wetlands with our strengths and weaknesses in terms of skills and resources, has lead us to build our programme around three themes:
Support the conservation of species and the management of conflicts between these species and human activities.
Analyse the consequences of global changes on the biodiversity, functioning of wetlands and uses, and propose methods for adaptive management and restoration.
Change the way decision-makers react so as to benefit wetlands by raising their awareness and providing them information on the status and trends of wetlands.
In order to optimise how effectively we implement this programme, we have defined it on the basis of:
The document is divided in three parts :
Part One puts into perspective the issues linked to the management of Mediterranean wetlands, by analysing them in a spatial context (Mediterranean specificities compared to the worldwide situation) and a temporal one (recent trends and medium- and long-term forecasts). Finally, it specifies our strategic positioning, which was defined by making a cross-analysis of the issues and our strengths and weaknesses.
Part Two explains the core concerns of the strategic plan found in our programme. It describes the three themes around which our actions are organised, specifying the objectives, targets, and strategy for taking action so that we may attain the anticipated outcomes. A detailed description of the projects can be found in a separate document in the appendix.
The final part of this document describes how our operations are organised and the resources we can mobilise, addressing in particular: