A new 3-year project to ‘Strengthen waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa (WetCap)’ has just started. The project will build the capacity of wetland management activities at key sites in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania. It will also promote the wise use of wetlands which benefit local people by providing clean water and opportunities for fishing, agriculture, recreation and tourism.
Through a series of regional and national workshops specifically tailored to the needs and requirements of the region, WetCap will provide training for conservation professionals from the five countries to improve the conservation status and management of waterbirds at key wetland sites. The project will also allocate small grants to local waterbird and wetland conservation projects.
WetCap is linked to the ongoing ‘Wings over Wetlands (WOW)’ project. “This unique 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”, said Bert Lenten – Executive Secretary of AEWA, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) administered international treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds across Africa and Eurasia.
“Waterbird conservation work is often hampered by a lack of data on population sizes, the movements of the birds or the sites used by them”, said Dr Jonathan Barnard - Senior Programme Manager at BirdLife International. “WetCap will help familiarise conservation professionals with flyway-level information developed under the Wings over Wetlands project, and link this to local needs to ensure that the project benefits both people and nature ”.