Life begins in wetlands.

Enhancing the conservation of coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean Basin

Since 1970, the Mediterranean region has lost 50% of its natural wetlands and we continue to destroy them. These habitats are vital, in particular to help coastal communities to adapt to present and future impacts of the climate crisis, which could directly affect more than 350 million people. Coastal wetlands are key solutions for helping us to manage extreme events like floods and storms. In addition, they can store 10-20 times more carbon than temperate or boreal forests on land. It is crucial that we urgently work to preserve Mediterranean coastal wetlands.

© MedSea

The project “Enhancing the conservation of coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean Basin” will run until 2022, thanks to the financial support of the MAVA Foundation. It brings together more than 30 partners in 10 countries.


  • Restore coastal wetlands and make them work as nature-based solutions to mitigate climate impacts in the region.
  • Encourage sustainable water use and reduce water abstraction.
  • Reduce threats that affect coastal wetlands and related marine habitats.
  • Create new socioeconomic opportunities based on coastal wetlands.

Implementation Strategies 

These objectives will be achieved by:

  • Building capacity for effective management and planning processes.
  • Raising awareness on the importance and value of coastal wetlands.
  • Implementing local solutions that can be replicated across the region

Key figures



Months (duration)

Million euros (cost)


MedWet is an original and innovative governance model formally recognised by the Ramsar Convention. It is based on the collaborative effort of the 27 Mediterranean countries and entities, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, intergovernmental institutions, international NGOs and national institutions specialising in wetland issues. It is the only platform to share information and technical capacities between governmental institutions and civil society serving wetlands in the Mediterranean through concerted actions within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.


€ 14.5 M (fully funded – €10.7 M MAVA Foundation; €3.7 M others). MAVA is a Swiss private philanthropic foundation whose mission is “to conserve biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature by funding, mobilising and strengthening its partners and the conservation community”. It has operated since 1994 and will be closing in 2022.

Countries involved

Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey

Key actions

  • Build a strong Mediterranean Wetlands Partnership.
  • Improve and share the wetlands knowledge base and ensure it helps relevant authorities to make informed decisions. There will be a specific focus on wetlands’ importance to biodiversity, sustainable practices and management, and their role as nature-based solutions (NBS), in order to counteract water abstraction and coastal development threats.
  • Ensure that wetland economic sectors (salt production, tourism and agriculture) operate more sustainably and create socio-economic opportunities which help bend the curve of loss and degradation by restoring the relationship between humans and nature for future generations.
  • Develop a communication and awareness strategy to ensure engagement of relevant stakeholders at regional and site level.
  • Develop national and regional policy and advocacy strategies for wetlands, ensuring that wetlands are also at the top of the EU agenda.
  • Promote strong governance to effectively support management planning and implementation, including by building capacity on the sustainable governance of wetlands.
  • Consolidate the network of Mediterranean wetlands managers, which is already operating in 120 sites over 1 million ha in the region.
  • Support the restoration of wetlands in at least 10 countries across the Mediterranean region.


Local communities, public authorities at the local, regional and national level, wetland and territorial managers, private sector.

Expected Results

  • A powerful and effective network of organisations constantly coordinating to preserve and restore Mediterranean wetlands.
  • A strong and sound database of studies, research and knowledge available to all.
  • Support to the sustainable socio-economic development of the region
  • Civil society engagement to support wetlands as a nature-based solution against climate impacts and the water crisis in the Mediterranean.
  • Political commitments and actions to stop the degradation of Mediterranean wetlands and ensure their restoration
  • Replicable management and governance models.
  • Support at the local, regional and international levels for the effective restoration of wetlands.

Some Coastal Wetlands to Put on Your Map

The Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy

Coastal wetlands provide an important habitat for many birds, and are a breed ground for gulls and colonies of pink flamingos. It’s home to several rare aquatic bird species, such as the red-crested pochard, purple heron, purple swamphen, and birds of prey such as osprey and Eurasian coot, as well as fish including sea bass, eel, mullet and caniottu (a small seabream).

Ghar El Melh Wetlands National Centre in Tunisia

Located in the city of Ghar El Melh, the lagoon is one of Tunisia’s forty one Ramsar Wetlands. There is an Eco-Museum that was built by local workers and features products made by local artisans. It highlights the importance of coastal wetlands for humans and biodiversity, and showcases the history of the region. In this museum you can visit the flying station to find out how to identify water birds. Ghar El Melh has submitted its application to be awarded the Ramsar City Accreditation during the upcoming Ramsar Conference of Parties.

Buna Bojana Delta, Albania and Montenegro

Nestling between the Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic in the southwest section of the Balkan Greek Belt lies the largest remaining wetland on the Adriatic Flyway. Known in Albanian as Buna and in Montenegrin as Bojana, these waters form a unique natural corridor.

They provide a safe haven for cormorants, Pygmy Cormorants, Spoonbills and many varieties of Heron to establish stable colonies. They find ample forage in the lagoons of the Buna-Bojana Delta and in the salt flats of Ulcinj.

All the wetlands in the Buna-Bojana Delta have become important resting places for many other migratory birds flying across the Adriatic and then over Sicily on to North Africa.

Learn More About These Sites

Learn More About These Sites