WetCap Project on Capacity Building in North Africa gets off the ground

The WetCap project countriesBonn,
9 March 2009
- A new 3-year AEWA project on “Strengthening
waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa
” is embarking on its first year of implementation
as of this month.

Sponsored by the Spanish Agency on International
Development Cooperation (AECID),
the WetCap project will focus on capacity building activities
in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania.

This unique project is linked to the
ongoing UNEP-GEF African-Eurasian Flyway Project, also known
as "Wings over Wetlands (WOW)".
It was developed in close cooperation with BirdLife International
and in particular the Spanish BirdLife partner SEO, Wetlands
International and the Ramsar Convention. The project includes
activities, which are complementary to the WOW project,
thus implementing the major results of WOW in the North
African region.

Most importantly, the first year of implementation
foresees the adaptation of the Training and Awareness Raising
framework Programme developed under WOW to the five project
countries, thus preparing the material for the training
of trainers and of local professionals concerned with waterbird
and wetland conservation, planned to take place during the
course of the project’s second and third year.

Another activity to be realized in year
1, foresees a regional training workshop on the use of the
Critical Site Network Tool developed under WOW. This activity,
which will enable the workshop participants to review the
existing data for their region, is planned to be followed
up by targeted gap-filling surveys and monitoring field
missions during the second and third years of the WetCap

The WetCap project perfectly complements
the WOW project by implementing its objectives in North
Africa, a region which has not been in the focus of the
WOW project so far. Moreover it sets a first positive example
of how the outcomes of the WOW project can be used beyond
the implementation phase of the WOW project itself, thus
ensuring its longevity. The 4-year WOW project will soon
enter into its last year of implementation.

Another important component of the WetCap
project, which is not directly linked to the WOW project,
foresees the allocation of small grants to local waterbird
and wetland conservation projects in the five project countries.
This activity, planned to take effect in early 2010, will,
at the same time, help realize the establishment of the
AEWA Small Grants Fund, which is foreseen in the AEWA
Strategic Plan
, adopted at the 4th
session of the Meeting of the Parties (September 2008, Madagascar).

In the wider context of the AEWA framework,
the WetCap project also significantly contributes to the
implementation of the African Initiative, which was initiated
at the 4th session of the Meeting of the Parties
to AEWA and, which provides a mandate to increase efforts
to strengthen capacity for waterbird and habitat conservation
in Africa.

The AEWA Secretariat will provide the overall
supervision of the WetCap project, supported by a Regional
Coordinator in charge of the implementation of the activities.
The Regional Coordinator will be integrated into the existing
structure of the Moroccan Wetlands Centre in Rabat, which
was established under the Moroccan Government in the framework
of a LIFE project in 2003, in close cooperation with the
project partner SEO/BirdLife. The Wetlands Centre is currently
staffed with two SEO staff members.

It is the first time that an AEWA project
is being funded by a development agency and the AEWA Secretariat
very much hopes that further cooperative initiatives with
the development sector will be able to be established in

For more information on the WetCap project
please read the Project Summary Sheet in English and French


or contact the AEWA Secretariat:

Ms. Catherine Lehmann

Programme Officer UNEP/AEWA

Tel: +49 (0)228 815-2453


For more information on the Wings over
Wetlands project please visit the
WOW website

More information on the African Initiative:

4.9: African Initiative for the conservation of migratory
waterbirds and their habitats in Africa

AEWA E-Newsletter articles:

AEWA Press Release: New
initiative gives boost to waterbird conservation in Africa
(October 2008)

Dernière mise à jour le 16 Juin 2014