Within the framework of the project ‘Wetlands in Tunisia: a Habitat for man and nature’, the government of Tunisia inaugurated on 25April 2013 the Ghar el Melh Wetlands Centre. The centre is hosted in the Fort of Ghar el Melh, built in the 17th century.
The General Directorate of Forests (DGF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF / Tunis Office) were responsible for supervising the project, after an agreement signed between DGF and the National Heritage Institute (INP) in 2010. Tunisia has 40 wetlands designated as Ramsar sites. The main objective of the project was to increase public sensitisation on the importance of conservation and wise use of wetlands and promote relative education initiatives.
The city of Ghar el Mehl has a rich natural and cultural heritage, hosting the 12th Ramsar site of Tunisia ‘Lagune de Ghar el Melh et Delta de la Mejerda’. The Wetlands Centre has several halls, in which the biodiversity of Tunisian wetlands is portrayed, along with the culturally rich interrelations of social and economic activities of the locals around wetlands. One of the halls is dedicated to pirates and illustrates the ancestral activity at the Ghar el Melh Lagoon using special sound and light effects, while another focuses on waterbirds.
For the creation of the Wetlands Centre, a number of organisations collaborated closely, among which the MAVA Foundation, the Polytechnic University of Valencia headed by María José Viñals, MedWet, the Ramsar Convention, WWF, INP and DGF.