IUCN Mediterranean hotspots assessment

The International Union for Conservation of Nature helps find pragmatic solutions to most pressing environment and development challenges. From September 3rd to 6th the IUCN-Med and the Freshwater Biodiversity Unit of the IUCN Species Programme organized a workshop for the evaluation of Freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas in Marrakech, Morocco. This workshop is part of a wider project funded by CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) and MAVA (MAVA Foundation pour la nature). During the event Freshwater KBAs in North Africa –being part of the biodiversity hotspots of the Mediterranean- were discussed and evaluated by experts from Algeria, Tunesia and Morocco,  and specialists from Europe, among whom CTCF’s Advisor Jörg Freyhof. René Beaumont also attended to this workshop.

At the end of the third day the chair, William Darwall (Manager, Freshwater Biodiversity Unit), looked back at what had been achieved. Amazed as he was about the knowhow being present he stressed that expertise always appears to be much more valuable when brought together. Working with a standardized methodology the main catchments in Algeria, Tunesia and Morocco have been assessed, providing solid information for further research, for follow-up activities, and for decision making. In his own words: “Once more the KBA approach has proven to be an excellent way to make progress, fast, in not loosing species. So, let’s be optimistic!”

The fourth day had been reserved for a field visit to the Oued N’fis, an intermittent river coming from the high Atlas, south of Marrakech. Not only could the participants, with their own eyes, see the status of this particular catchment, also there was time to share thoughts, visions, ideas and even passions with each other.