The theme for World Wetlands Day 2016, which is celebrated every year on the 2nd February, is “Wetlands for our future – sustainable livelihoods”. The intimate and timeless relationship between people –the way they live and the culture they create– and wetlands has been central to the work of the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (Med-INA) since its founding in 2003.
Mediterranean wetlands, in spite of their natural and cultural significance, continue to be degraded and destroyed. The valuation of their cultural capital and an understanding of the relationship between their natural and cultural values are of great importance in the effort to conserve and manage them wisely. More often than not, it is this exact relationship that has shaped and continues to shape the character of wetlands and the identity of local communities. Hence, the integrated management of natural and cultural heritage has the potential to re-connect people with wetlands and thus contribute substantially to their conservation. Understanding, documenting and as a result, strengthening the links between people and wetlands is central to Med-INA’s work.
Through its diverse activities, Med-INA has gone a long way in asserting the inextricable links between people and wetlands as well as their interdependence through time. Living sustainably around wetlands has a positive impact on their ecological state and at the same time contributes to the well-being of local populations in the long term.
To celebrate this year’s World Wetlands Day, we have created a short review of Med-INA’s work on the cultural values of wetlands available for downloading. The review details the most significant activities and outputs achieved by Med-INA and provides links to all relevant publications.
Happy World Wetlands Day!