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There are more than 14,000 island wetland sites in nine Mediterranean countries with an area above 0.1 hectares. They are a key conservation priority, but they have suffered historically through conversion for development. Today, island wetlands face the same man-made pressures as other wetlands in the region. Given the limited nature of their freshwater supplies, natural island wetlands in particular are in need of an informed and joined up approach to restoring and maintaining their ecological functions.

Ramsar resolution XII.14 addresses this point, and “Calls upon Contracting Parties in and around the Mediterranean to address urgently the significant human-induced pressures threatening island wetlands through effective and decisive legislative or executive measures and other actions which apply a precautionary approach that would prevent the destruction of island wetlands, while developing more longterm and integrated strategies or plans.”

MedIsWet is a network of partnerships and collaborations between governmental authorities, NGOs, research institutions, local communities, MedWet and the Ramsar Convention formed in 2017 in response to resolution XII.14. Over a five-year term it aims to grow knowledge and raise awareness of the importance of these small, numerous and dispersed island wetlands among both the public and the scientific community; and to advocate for their improved protection at national and international levels.

Following a successful pilot project in the Greek islands, national inventories of island wetlands are also underway in Croatia, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey; and restoration activities have begun. Conservation measures, effective administrative frameworks and other best practices will be applied and shared across the MedIsWet network, enabling a broad and growing impact.




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MedIsWet video

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MedIsWet publications

Restoration Factsheet


Meet Wetlanders from MedIsWet

The gentle guardians of the lagoon

Alberto was working in a supermarket and his brother Alessandro was a computer engineer – but today they’re running the Sant’Andrea fisher cooperative in the Gulf of Oristano. Here, they tell us about the importance of their mission.

A dream of wetlands and people

Piera Pala is one of the main actors behind the Coastal Contract that was signed in 2019 by 11 mayors and local authorities in the Gulf of Oristano in Sardinia, Italy. In this short film, she tells us the story of how her dream came true.

Island wetlands are telling their stories


Island wetlands: 14,000 reasons for action

Island wetlands: 14,000 reasons for action

Since 2017, a coalition of conservation bodies – ‘MedIsWet’ – have been on a mission. It’s their aim to raise awareness of the particular importance of wetlands on Mediterranean islands, and drive regional efforts to save them.
So why are island wetlands special?

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Why is it so important to protect island wetlands?

Why is it so important to protect island wetlands?

Island wetlands provide invaluable services right across the basin. They store and purify the water island communities need to survive, and they produce fish, food, salt, reeds and other economic materials. They cool hot summer air. In terms of biodiversity, island wetlands provide unique habitats for endemic and endangered species, as well as hosting some of the most important sites for birds in the whole of the Mediterranean, both native and migratory.

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