28/05/13 – A continuum between the Alpine and the Pyrenean bearded vulture populations
The French ‘Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux Grands Causses’ is working with MAVA’s support to reinforce the bearded vulture population in the Massif Central area. The release of bearded vultures in the Grands Causses, mid-way between the Alps and the Pyrenees, contributes to developing a continuum between the Alpine and the Pyrenean populations, thereby allowing the two populations to mix.
The project recently achieved very promising results. Several bearded vultures released in June 2012 in the Massif Central by the LPO Grands Causses and fitted with GPS beacons, have been observed these past weeks in the Alps and in the Pyrenees.
You can follow the movements of two of the bearded vultures (Basalt and Cardabelle) here(in French).
In addition, you can follow the preparations for the 2013 release here(in French).
15/05/13 – MAVA's Annual Report 2012 is available
We are pleased to announce that MAVA’s Annual Report 2012 is now available. We invite you to join us in celebrating some of the highlights of our conservation work in 2012. This report offers fascinating stories about inspirational people and ground-breaking projects that demonstrate the extraordinary skill and dedication of our partners. Download the report here.
08/05/13 – Action Plan for marine turtles in Albania
Over ten years ago, Prof. Idriz Haxhiu of Tirana University alerted MEDASSET to the presence of sea turtles in Northern Albania. Long-term research showed that both the endangered loggerhead and green turtle migrate through Albanian waters, and that Drini Bay is an important feeding, overwintering and developmental habitat for the species in the Mediterranean.
Based on the scientific results, and in accordance with MEDASSET’s mission to promote sea turtle conservation throughout the Mediterranean, in February 2012 MEDASSET submitted an Action Plan for the Conservation of Sea Turtles and their Habitats in Albania to the Albanian government. This was formally adopted on November 22nd 2012.
The Action Plan serves as a roadmap for the development of sea turtle research and protection in Albanian waters. This is an important milestone for sea turtle conservation in the Mediterranean. Of course, much work lies ahead for, if sea turtles migrating through Albanian waters are to be monitored and threats against them mitigated, the Action Plan must be properly implemented.
The Action Plan is a result of extensive consultation with Albanian experts and scientists that was carried out during 2011 by MEDASSET and the Minister of Environment, with the support of the MAVA Fondation and under the auspices of the Barcelona Convention and the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas of UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan.
25/03/13 – CITES reinforces the protection status of the African manatee and several threatened selacian species
At the 16th meeting of the CITES Conference (3-14 March in Bangkok), the parties decided to better regulate the international trade of the Oceanic Whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus), of three hammerhead shark species (Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran, S. zygaena), of the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) as well as of two existing manta ray species (Manta birostris, Manta alfredi). They also decided to ban the international trade of the freshwater sawfish (Pristis microdon) and the manatee (Trichechus) by transferring these species from Annex II to Annex I. These regulations are an important step towards better conservation of these threatened species in West Africa.
These results recognise the efforts of an international coalition, among which MAVA’s partners working under the umbrella of the PRCM (le Partenariat régional pour la conservation de la zone côtière et Marine en Afrique de l‘Ouest) played a leading role.
12/03/13 – NATURE Swisscanto Grand Prize awarded to Mathis Wackernagel
MAVA congratulates Mathis Wackernagel, President and co-founder of the Global Footprint Network (GFN), who was recently awarded the Swiss 2013 NATURE Swisscanto Grand Prize.
This Swiss Sustainability Award recognizes outstanding achievements advancing sustainable development in Switzerland. The Grand Prize was awarded to Mathis Wackernagel in recognition of his work on the development of the Ecological Footprint and his help to bring the tool to governments and institutions across the world. GFN has been one of MAVA’s partner for several years and is currently working with MAVA on institutionalizing the Ecological Footprint in the Mediterranean Basin.
For more information on the prize, click here (in French or in German).
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL) recently announced that one of its projects on the conservation of the marine “Hima” in Lebanon (The Conservation of the Marine “Hima” in Qoleileh – Reviving Yesterday’s Community Based Conservation Approach for the Sustainability of Tomorrow’s Generations) has been classified as “Best Practice” by the Dubai International Award for Best Practices (DIABP) to Improve the Living Environment(jointly administered by UN-Habitat and the Dubai Municipality).
This classification is a way of recognising the project’s significant impact to improving the living environment. The project has been added to the UN-Habitat Best Practice Database as a way to share best practices to communities around the world.
The Qolieleh Hima project aims at preserving the southern Lebanese coast and its natural resources. It focuses on an area stretching from the south of Tyre Coast Nature Reserve to Naqoura village and involves neighboring villages in sustaining the marine Hima. The project benefits the local fishermen by creating job opportunities for them as marine guides, empowering them economically, training them on sustainable fishing methods, and promoting eco-tourism in the area. This also promotes sustaining the livelihood of the local population in general, improving income generation, and valuation of biodiversity by achieving a higher level of awareness and knowledge in support of nature conservation.
MAVA supports SPNL on another important project it is undertaking to restore Hima ecosystem functions through promoting sustainable community-based water management systems in North Eastern Lebanon (in Anjar-Kfar Zabad, Bekaa Valley) , and would like to congratulate SPNL for its commitment to sustaining Himas.
A Hima is a traditional system of governance of land use practices that integrates ecological, cultural and social considerations. It has recently regained much interest in Arabic and Muslim countries.
29/01/13 - New Ramsar site in Tunisia dedicated to Dr Luc Hoffmann
The government of Tunisia and WWF Tunisia have designated a new Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention, the Complexe Lac de Tunis.
This designation is dedicated to Dr Luc Hoffmann on the occasion of his 90th birthday for his immense contribution towards wetlands and nature conservation. See the Ramsar website for more information.
22/01/13 – Professor Georg Grabherr nominated Austria’s 2012 Researcher
MAVA would like to congratulate Prof Georg Grabherr from the University of Vienna who has recently received the award of Austria’s 2012 Researcher.
In an environment that keeps getting warmer, species will be forced to move in order to stay within the temperature range for which they are adapted. Prof Grabherr instigated the Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine environments (GLORIA) whose objective is to qualify and quantify the movement of alpine plants as an indicator for climate change. Research results of this project have been published in the most renowned scientific papers such as Science and Nature, and MAVA has been supporting this initiative since 2005.
11/01/13 – MedPAN’s key role at the 2012 Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean
For the first time in the Mediterranean, about 300 key players in the areas of activity involved in the marine environment gathered to share their experiences and develop a joint program of work to advance the network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean.
See the website of the 2012 Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean for the results of this successful gathering. The role of MAVA’s partner MedPAN was key to reaching a common vision towards a comprehensive, ecologically representative, effectively connected and efficiently managed network of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020.
14/12/12 – New video featuring the importance of Marine Protected Areas in Croatia
The project “Establishment and improved management of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean” (known as the MedPAN South project), currently in its final stage, is a basin wide effort undertaken by the WWF Mediterranean Programme Office (WWF MedPO) aimed at improving the representativeness and management of marine protected areas (MPAs). In addition to a regional capacity building component, the project focused on five pilot projects in Algeria, Croatia, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The following video highlights the importance of MPAs in Croatia and the achievements made throughout the project. It was produced as part of the Croatian pilot project which is coordinated by the NGO Sunce, in tight cooperation and with the guidance from WWF MedPO and the Croatian ministry of nature and environmental protection, as well as other national partners.
More information about the MedPAN South project can be found here.
10/12/12 – A step towards protecting the Amazon of Europe
MAVA has been supporting the establishment of the Mura-Drava-Danube biosphere reserve that spans over 700 kilometers of free flowing river and in five countries. Water regulation projects, mainly on the Croatian part, are threatening some of the river stretches of particular biological value.
According to a latest decision by the Croatian Environmental Ministry, the stillnatural confluence of Mura and Drava rivers, straddling along the Croatian and Hungarian border, will not be channeled. This abandonment is another step towards protecting one of the last great river landscapes in Europe. For more information: http://www.amazon-of-europe.com/en/menu9/ or click on the photo below to see a simulation.
06/12/12 – MAVA renews its commitment to IUCN’s conservation efforts
On 4 December, MAVA and IUCN signed a three-year ‘framework’ agreement in support of IUCN’s 2013-2016 Programme as well as a five-year project agreement to help implement the Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine Conservation (PRCM) in West Africa.
23/11/12 – Launch of the French edition of Living on the Edge
The French edition of Living on the Edge (Les ailes du Sahel) is hot off the press! This amazing book collects the latest knowledge about migratory birds and the challenges they have to cope with while crossing the Sahara and on their wintering site. Linking climate change, habitat degradation, and population dynamics, rich in maps and pictures, this is great tool for the conservation of threatened birds and ecosystems. MAVA is proud to have supported this translation, making it now available for francophone Africa.
Living on the Edge – Wetlands and Birds in a Changing Sahel, by Leo Zwarts, Rob Bijlsma, Jan van der Kamp and Eddy Wymenga (2009, ISBN 978 90 5011 280 2) is published by KNNV Publishing, Zeist, Netherlands.
12/11/12 – The first Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute takes office
MAVA is pleased to welcome Professor Joshua J. Tewksbury’s as Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute, based at WWF International’s headquarters in Gland, Switzerland.
The creation of the Luc Hoffmann Institute was announced during WWF’s 50th birthday celebrations in April 2011, with a development grant from MAVA, which is intended to become a CHF 20 million commitment over 10 years. Prof Tewksbury’s principal role is to mobilise world-class thinking in science, policy and practice to help deliver the ambitious objectives of WWF’s Global Initiatives
Professor Tewksbury, a US national, was previously the Walker Endowed Professor of Natural History in the Department of Biology and College of the Environment at the University of Washington. Over the past decade, he has built an outstanding record of research on topics ranging from the ecological impacts of climate change, habitat fragmentation, and invasive species, to ecosystem services and food security.
While at the University of Washington, Professor Tewksbury played a central role in the creation of the new College of the Environment. He has a strong track record in collaboration across disciplines, both natural and social sciences, and in bringing nature and conservation issues home to decision makers and the public.
06/11/12 – MAVA met with his Excellency Mr Youssou N’Dour, Minister of Tourism and Recreation of the Republic of Senegal
On 16 October 2012, MAVA received the visit of Mr. Youssou N’Dour, Minister of Tourism and Recreation of the Republic of Senegal. This meeting was an opportunity to share ideas and thoughts on the relationship between tourism and the environment in Senegal. Senegal has plenty of treasures for tourists, both cultural and natural. Tourism development and sustainable management of natural resources are not incompatible objectives, however opportunities do exist to better align national sector-specific policies. MAVA recognises the importance of this matter, as well as the fact that private operators should be included in the thinking. It could support the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism through a project that IUCN is developing with its partners of the regional Partnership PRCM.
01/11/12 - Flamingos, the Camargue and the Tour du Valat on Arte TV
On Monday 5 November, TV channel Arte will broadcast at 19:00 CET a 43-minute documentary on Greater Flamingos. This film is part of a series of three documentaries by Laurent Charbonnier, renowned wildlife filmmaker, on the return of animal species which were previously declining.
The scenes were largely filmed in the Camargue (France), and mobilised several members of the Tour du Valat’s scientific team involved in the safeguarding and monitoring programme of the Greater Flamingos around the Mediterranean basin.
In addition to explanations on the ecology and behavior of the species, we also learn how Luc Hoffmann, Alan Johnson, Jean-Paul Taris and a few others helped to restore the flamingoes by creating an artificial island in the Fangassier pond in the early 1970s, at a time when the species was tending to disappear from the French Mediterranean coast due to various human pressures. A successful and truly beneficial initiative since about 80,000 flamingos were born there since, making the Camargue today an area of high importance for the species across its entire range.
More information and presentation of the documentary here.
01-02/10/12 - Mediterranean ecological footprint workshop and donors meeting in Venice
On October 1st-2nd in Venice, Italy, MAVA co-organised with Global Footprint Network (GFN) and UNESCO, a two-day international conference on “Securing Competitiveness for the Mediterranean”. The first day was dedicated to the launch of the report ‘Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Trends’, while an expert workshop towards devising the next steps for reducing footprint in the Mediterranean region took place during the second day.
About eighty participants from government organisations, research groups, NGOs, the education sector and funding organisations attended. The spirit of the meeting is best captured in this statement: “We call on governments and international institutions to consider Ecological Footprint and biocapacity to assess the state of ecological assets, and to measure progress towards sustainable development and green economy in the Mediterranean region.”
The report revealed that Mediterranean countries consume 1,5 times more renewable resources than they produce within their boundaries, and that the consumption per capita in the region is much higher than the world average. Within the region all countries except Montenegro run an ecological deficit that has kept increasing since the 1960’s. This situation puts pressure on natural resources worldwide and represents a risk for the Mediterranean economies.
To respond to this challenge and reverse the trend, participants have agreed to disseminate the report throughout their networks and to work even harder on identifying possible solutions to their specific circumstances. After the workshop, the GFN staff left for Ankara to pass on the message to the representatives of higher spheres of decision making in Turkey.
More information on this event can be found following the link: view event
On the margins of this event, on October 1st, MAVA convened a donors meeting to explore common funding interests for the Mediterranean region on all thematics and biomes. The event included representatives of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, European Foundation Centre, Fondation Ensemble, Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, Fond Français pour l’Environnement Mondial, Fundacion Biodiversidad, Oak Foundation and MAVA Foundation. Issues such as marine protected areas, integrated coastal zone management and conservation of flagship species rated high on the list of common objectives.
27/09/12 – MAVA President highlights the foundation’s adaptability to change
During its recent 2012 World Conservation Congress, IUCN gathered key environmental philanthropists from around the world to discuss how foundations and philanthropists are viewing and responding to the threats and opportunities of the coming decades. Invited as a panelist, André Hoffmann, MAVA President, strongly emphasized that MAVA is able to react rapidly to the world’s new emerging environmental trends thanks to its flexible structure.
“We can come to a clear conclusion quickly” said André Hoffmann, stressing the importance of MAVA’s light and rapid decision-process as well as its capacity to adapt to our changing world. In terms of strategy he also highlighted that MAVA’s long-term thinking is expressed in the projects it supports. However, building on the foundation’s values and experience, MAVA is presently working solidly on converting its vision so as to be able to focus on the world’s new global conservation challenges.
26/09/12 – MAVA announces new financial contribution to the Regional Partnership for Coastal and Marine Conservation (PRCM) in West Africa
PRCM organised a side event at the 2012 World Conservation Congress in Jeju, South Korea, to launch its new regional conservation strategy for Coastal West Africa. During this event, MAVA announced its commitment of 2.25 million Euros for the implementation of the 2012-2016 PRCM strategic programme.
PRCM now represents a vast coalition of organisations, ranging from the local to the regional level, and including civil society organisations, as well as administrations, parliamentarians, or regional networks. The new phase of PRCM will reinforce its role as an innovative platform, facilitating exchange between partners, coordinating their actions and initiating lobbying and advocacy activities. It is co-funded by the Dutch Embassy in Dakar. For more information, click here.
24/08/12 - New MAVA Administration and Finance Assistant
We are pleased to announce that Laurianne Demierre joined the MAVA team on 20th August 2012 as administration and finance assistant. Laurianne is a Swiss national with a maturité fédérale in modern languages and a diploma in tourism management. Before joining MAVA Laurianne was HR assistant at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, having returned from Liberia earlier this year where she was responsible for administrative and logistics matters, including finance, HR administration, purchases and fleet management for Solidarités International, a humanitarian NGO. Before this she lived and worked in Palestine, Costa Rica and Switzerland in various administrative and project officer roles.
22/08/12 - MAVA mourns the loss of Martin Schneider-Jacoby
It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of Martin Schneider-Jacoby after a sudden, quick illness. Martin has worked for our long time partner Euronatur for over 20 years, and was the leader of several important projects dealing with the protection of migratory birds, karst poljes, as well rivers in the Balkans. His presence was always considered an immeasurable asset because of his enthusiasm and knowledge of the area.
Ever since his PhD work on the stork populations in the Sava river floodplains, Martin has been on the forefront of nature conservation in the Balkans where he was instrumental in numerous anti poaching campaigns, area protection initiatives, and training of local ornithologists. He will be remembered not only as an uncompromising fighter for the environment, but also as a warm person with a kind and genuine smile.
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues, and we hope that his spirit will forever soar over the areas he cared for so deeply.
27/07/12 – MAVA Workshop: Comprehending culture and nature relationship
MAVA believes in the power of cultural arguments and values to achieve biological conservation targets. In order to further explore this topic and eventually transform the most promising approaches into an effective project concept, a selection of organisations* that already implement projects linking culture and nature gathered on 23rd and 24th July 2012 in Gland to share their experience on the subject.
As an introduction, each participant gave an example of a project which links culture and nature and in which they took part. The projects presented addressed conservation of sacred natural sites, integration of culture into the management of national parks, and linking traditional beliefs to resource management.
The second part of the workshop was dedicated to consolidating the presented approaches and to brainstorming on which of them could apply to the Mediterranean Basin and how they could be implemented. The outcomes of this exercise are the general outlines of a project linking culture and nature in the Mediterranean, which includes a set of actions and outcomes, as well as important considerations regarding project objectives.
Commitments were made by almost all the attendees to take up certain roles in the development of a detailed project concept, such as coordinating, regional or country-level data gathering, and fact checking.
* Participating organisations and individuals were: Foundation Pro Terra Engiadina (Angelika Abderhalden), Transhumance and Nature Fund (Jesus Garzón Heydt), Fauna & Flora International (Mark Infield), Fondation Internationale du Banc d’Arguin (Charlotte Karibuhoye), WWF Mediterranean Programme Office (Faouzi Maamouri), UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (Douglas Nakashima), IUCN (Gonzalo Oviedo), Mediterranean Institute on Nature and Anthropos (Thymio Papayannis), Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (Assad Adel Serhal), The Christensen Fund (Wolde Gossa Tadesse), DiversEarth (Liza Zogib), Doga Dernegi-BirdLife Turkey (Engin Yilmaz), and MAVA (Lynda Mansson, Paule Gros and Marko Pecarevic).
20/07/12 – Mura-Drava-Danube biosphere reserve added to World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The Croatian-Hungarian part of the planned 5-country biosphere reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube” was officially approved by the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), which met in Paris from 9 to 13 July 2012.
The biosphere reserve covers 630,000 ha (about 80% of the future 5-country biosphere reserve “Mura-Drava-Danube”): 240,000 ha core and buffer zones (existing protected area network) plus an additional 390,000 ha transition zones. This new cross border biosphere reserve is the basis for effective protection and better management of the rivers and their catchment area, ecological river basin management and revitalisation. But it also enables a sustainable development of the region and of its cultural values.
This good news is the result of ten years of hard work by the authorities of the countries involved and by many partners who contributed to the implementation of a well protected and managed Mura-Drava-Danube river system under the leadership of WWF-Austria and with the support of MAVA.
06/07/2012 – Important conservation win in Greece
In the midst of the financial crisis, Greece takes an important step to secure the future of its valuable island ecosystems. A new presidential decree for the protection of 380 wetlands situated on 59 different Greek islands was signed and issued in the Government Gazette.
This decree is an important win for the conservation of these small Greek natural treasures. It is mainly the result of WWF-Greece’s tireless work to document and highlight the ecological value and plight of these small wetlands. For MAVA, who has been supporting WWF-Greece since the beginning of this action in 2004, this new piece of legislation is a big victory that must now be translated into action on the ground.
An infographic demonstrating the timeline of WWF Greece’s project for the conservation of the island wetlands is available here
05/06/12 – Two bearded vultures released in the Alps
On 26 May, two bearded vultures named Gallus and Bernd were released in the Calfeisental (Canton St Gall in Switzerland) by the Pro Bearded Vulture Foundation, which MAVA supports.
The aim of this organisation is to build a population of bearded vultures in the north of the Alps, and, on the long-term, to connect it with the bearded vulture population in the South of the Alps.
The reintroduction of bearded vultures in the Alps has successfully restored a wild breeding population with 27 wild born offspring so far. However, a recent analysis showed that the actual wild population has only around 12-14 founder genome equivalents, basically saying that only 12-14 birds are effectively breeding and exchanging their genetic makeup. Experts recommend that at least 20 founder genome equivalents should be in the wild to ensure the long-term success of the reintroduction project. This release was the first of 3 planned releases in order to improve the genetic base of the Alpine Bearded Vulture. When all of the 9 birds are released, it is hoped that the genetic diversity of the breeding population will have increased sufficiently to ensure long term genetic health.
11/05/12 - Job opening: Administrative and Finance Assistant
The MAVA Foundation is seeking to recruit an Administrative and Finance Assistant.
Details of the position (in French) can be found here.
Deadline for the submission of applications is 4 June 2012.
26/04/12 - MAVA Spotlight 2011
We are pleased to share with you the inaugural edition of MAVA Spotlight, the foundation’s first annual report. The stories in the report show something of the unrivalled dedication and achievement of our partners, while offering an insight into our approach to conservation. Download the report here.
17/04/12 - "Change the Course" campaign launched by the Club of Rome
The Club of Rome has launched its “Change the Course” campaign to get young and committed people to brainstorm on how to change the course of history for a more sustainable society. On the day that marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, “Change the Course”, run in conjunction with several NGOs, like-minded organizations and individuals, asks people to contribute ideas for an urgent change of thinking and action. The voyage of the ultimate ‘Ship of fools’: the Titanic, offers many parallels to the current calls for humanity to change course and to get away from “business as usual” path.
FIBA is seeking, in consultation with the president and the advisory board of the regional network of MPAs in West Africa – RAMPAO, a full-time secretary in charge of ensuring the operation of all activities of the secretariat and other bodies of the network. The candidates must be fluent in spoken and written French and English. Details on the position can be found here.
The deadline for the submission of applications is April 25th 2012.
08/02/12 - Two recent reports analyse environmental philanthropic funding
What is the current level of commitment of European foundations in the funding of environmental issues? Two reports recently published, one by The European Foundation Centre and one by the UK Environmental Funders Network, provide an analysis of the present situation and cover subjects such as the allocation of funds according to different thematic priorities or the geographical distribution of grants. This research can provide useful background for foundations as they reflect on their strategies and allocation of their resources, and provides food for thought on the gaps in funding for important conservation issues.
01/02/12 - Unique educational resource to advance environmental awareness of the Mediterranean Basin’s threatened biodiversity
With the support of MAVA, Wildscreen has compiled audio-visual profiles for 100 threatened plant and animal species found within the Mediterranean Basin, using high quality films and photographs. Visuals are accompanied by brief accounts on species phylogeny, characteristics, distribution and habits developed based on sound scientific sources. A list of recent references and useful links is also provided.
This collection has been made accessible for public access online via the ARKive website. The Mediterranean Basin feature page highlights the biodiversity of the region and the accompanying species profiles.
Click here to browse through the Mediterranean Basin feature page.
11/01/12 - New video produced by WWF on the MAVA supported MedPAN South Project
Have a look at the new video produced by WWF on the MedPAN South Project, on the WWF website or directly below. The video addresses the need to achieve the goals of the Convention on biological Diversity and how the WWF approach contributes to this end.
For information : The MedPAN South Project is a 4-year collaborative project aimed at improving the management effectiveness of MPAs and supporting the creation of new ones in the 11 participating countries in the south and east of the Mediterranean, and the Mediterranean Balkans.
It aims to achieve this through 5 pilot projects in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey and Croatia as well as through regional activities. Some of the goals of the project are:
To build human capacity for managing MPAs,
To strengthen the management plans of pilot sites,
To provide baseline data for the creation of MPAs in the South and East of the Mediterranean,
To strengthen and expand MedPAN, the Mediterranean network of MPA managers.