The Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture’s Vision, as taken from the MoU:
We view the future of the Mediterranean Basin as a region of peace and collaboration at all levels, in which cultural practices from past traditions evolve into the future, while contributing to the sustainable management of its natural resources and ecosystem services and the rich biodiversity of the region for the benefit of its peoples. A region where there is a new deal for communities who manage nature and its resources; and where the recognition of unity in diversity contributes to the lasting peace and stability of the region.
In 2012, the MAVA Foundation brought together some of its existing partners to talk about culture in conservation in the Mediterranean.
In 2013, five partners from different shores of the Mediterranean, with Swiss-based DiversEarth as coordinator, founded the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture: a collaboration of partners working together on a common goal to understand, support and celebrate persisting cultural practices throughout the Basin that either directly or indirectly benefit nature and biodiversity.
These partners are: Trashumancia y Naturaleza from Spain, MedINA from Greece, WWF-North Africa, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, and Doga Dernegi – subsequently Yolda Initiative – in Turkey.
From the start, this gathering of diverse partners with a variety of skill-sets, personalities and areas of focus, took strength from each other in taking a different approach to conservation. An approach that brought people to the heart of the work, that viewed people not as the problem, but as part of the solution towards a sustainable future.
To kick off, we undertook a rapid assessment of all the different types of cultural practices still found in the Mediterranean, today threatened by growing homogeneity and a variety of mounting pressures. The list was impressive, and to ensure that our collective effort would have maximum impact, we decided to focus as a group on one particular practice present in all partner countries: mobile pastoralism.
Our work on mobile pastoralism looks at all the different types of mobility with livestock found around the Mediterranean Basin – transhumance, nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralism, extensive grazing – and is greatly inspired by the work of our Spanish partners, Trashumancia y Naturaleza, who have already been working on reviving the long transhumance in Spain for the past 30 years.
As our projects under this theme become firmly established we now begin to develop a focus on other cultural practices important to the region as a whole – such as traditional fisheries and unique fishing techniques and sacred sites such as Marabout in North Africa.
Over the years we continue to move from strength to strength, working together at international policy fora and spreading the word through creative communications to a broader public. And today, as the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture reaches the final stages of its current MAVA-funded project, we hope that we can inspire others to join forces in the infinitely critical task of maintaining the amazing and diverse cultural and natural heritage of the Mediterranean.