Libya remains as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the Mediterranean, but at the same time preserving its fragile environment from Sahara expanses and climate change is challenging. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation has recently made a mission in Libya to promote two projects: the first one is about Small Initiatives for Civil Society Organizations in North Africa (PPI-OSCAN, its acronym in French) funded by the French Global Environment Facility (FGEF) and the MAVA Foundation, the second project is about “Promoting the value of key biodiversity areas in North Africa through the involvement of civil society in their conservation and management” supported by the critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
The mission was jointly organized with CEPF Focal Point in North Africa, Ms. Awatef Abiadh, who is currently developing several initiatives with Civil Society Organizations in Libya.
During this trip several meetings were held with NGOs, such as Libyan Society for Birds and the National Association for Nature Conservation in Tobrok, who are running CEPF small grant projects. A kick-off meeting for the IUCN-Med/CEPF project was also organized in the Environment General Authority (EGA) premises with staff from the Nature Conservation Department. It was agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between IUCN-Med and EGA for the Project implementation and follow-up of activities on the ground.
IUCN-Med and CEPF representatives have had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Mohamed Mehrez Ali, Head of EGA Management Board. Discussion was about current IUCN-Med and CEPF projects in Libya and potential opportunities in the near future especially in the framework of the Civil Society Strengthening Programme that will be launched by IUCN-Med in February 2014. As a mean to strengthen collaboration with IUCN-Med, Mr. Mehrez Ali expressed also the interest of EGA in rejoining IUCN as a State Member.
This mission included a visit to the city of Tobruk located on the east part of Libya. During this trip local NGOs were met along with students and their professors to discuss potential opportunities of joint work. These meetings with civil society organizations helped making an initial capacity assessment, while examining the difficulties they encountered in implementing projects, identifying thus more precisely the type of support they might need to be more effective. IUCN-Med and CEPF representatives were also invited to the local 17 February radio of Tobrok where they participated with a representative from EGA to an emission dedicated to environment challenges and opportunities in Libya.
For further info: Maher Mahjoub