The Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism – MEET

22 May 2013 | Project description

The Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) project aims to improve the sustainability and the rationalization in distribution of the tourism sector in the Mediterranean region. In the framework of cross-border cooperation within the European Neighborhood Policy Instrument (ENPI Med), under the strategic line “Promoting the sustainable tourism for the socio-economic development and enhancement of territories”, this strategic project involves 10 countries of the Mediterranean: Italy, France, Spain, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Tunisia.

Background
Rounded by the lands of three different continents, the Mediterranean region presents an extremely rich vegetation and wildlife that makes it one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world. Each area composing the varied topography of the region- high mountains, rocky shores, impenetrable scrubs, semi-arid steppes, coastal wetlands, sandy beaches etc. - is characterized by its own habitats and wildlife that define an extraordinary biodiversity patch.

Tourism is at the same time a growing source of income and an increasing driving force for actual negative impacts in the Mediterranean coastal regions. Protected Areas are the best example of it: they look at the tourists as additional “financial resources” for their weak institutional budget, but at the same time they fear the impact of large groups of tourists, concentrated in peak season.

Objectives and results
The main results envisaged by this project are:

  • The definition of a Mediterranean Ecotourism Planning Scheme, a formal cross-border agreement for cooperating in Eco-tourism development;
  • MEET ecotourism offer, a catalogue of tourism packages, involving Protected Areas from the 10 concerned Med countries for low season;
  • Definition of an Ecotourism planning concept (Local Ecotourism Charter – LEC) for the non EU Med countries, taking as starting point the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (ECST) as good practice method;
  • Establishment of a Mediterranean Ecotourism Planning Scheme Secretariat and network in Malaga to capitalize the project results and the sustainability of the project after its end.

The Italian Federation for Parks and Natural reserves - Federparchi - will coordinate the funds along with the eight partner institutions, including the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med), the Lazio Region, the French Federation of National Parks, MedPAN (the Network of Protected Areas in the Mediterranean), the region of Catalonia, the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and the managing body of the National Park Al-Shouf Cedar in Lebanon.

IUCN's role

IUCN-Med as a partner in the consortium will be in charge of the coordination of the Mediterranean Ecotourism Network  in collaboration with the IUCN ROWA office in Amman (as an Antenna of the secretariat in Middle East regions) and of the Pilot actions to be developed in Tunisia, together with MedPAN.

The MEET Network’s mission is to improve the cooperation between Mediterranean Protected Areas in the sustainable tourism field, advocate for the sustainable management of Eco-tourism activities and help them in promoting Eco-tourism policies – including collaborations with private sector – as a tool for conservation and sustainable development.

The Network will be functioning through a secretariat based at IUCN Med Malaga’s premises.

Partners / Donors
Partners: Federparchi – Europarc ; Latium Region; National Parks of France; MedPAN Mediterranean Protected Areas Network; IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation; Cataluña Region; Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency; Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature; Al- Shouf Cedar Society.

Project co-funded by the European Union.

Duration

33 months - 18/01/2013 – 16/10/2015

For further info: Carla Danelutti


Mediterranean landscape