The first regional brainstorming workshop on IWC in North Africa was held on 8 and 9 October 2012 in Tunis. It was organized by Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux" with the support of five organizations that have initiated a regional support programme of IWC and wetland conservation in the Mediterranean (research centre of Tour du Valat, the French National Game and Wildlife Agency - ONCFS, WI, French Ministry of Ecology and MAVA Foundation). Representatives of NGOs, universities and administrations from the five North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) were present at the workshop.
After a review of IWC monitoring that was carried out in each North African country in recent years, participants identified and discussed their needs in terms of capacity building for improving performance of their national IWC scheme. Several other topics were also discussed, such as data sharing, training of observers, utilization of standardized methods, as well as processing, analysis and publication of waterbird data and their use for wetlands management and conservation.
After two days of intense discussions, all participants agreed on the two following concrete actions for 2013:
- National databases and regional platform: Morocco is currently developing a database which can be used as a national database by each North-African country. The regional programme will support the finalization of this database and its test by Tunisia. In 2013, each country will choose the database tool that is most suitable for it from the existing ones; Moroccan database developed by GREPOM, observado.org developed by WI, medwaterbirds.net developed by Tour du Valat. A common regional database platform will also be chosen to facilitate dataflow between countries.
- Mid-January census: all representatives agreed on coordinated waterbird counts in January 2013. Participants will pool together results from the five North African countries to publish a regional synthesis that will be communicated to North African and international organizations.
Organizers and participants are confident that the support programme will allow the start of a genuine regional programme on waterbird monitoring, first in North Africa. This regional project indeed aims to improve the overall quality of waterbird monitoring in the Mediterranean in order to better protect waterbirds and their habitats.
For more informations, download the report of the workshop.
View of the Lake of Tunis and workshop participants during the field trip © AAO