Empowering civil society to achieve concrete and effective conservation actions in North Africa

As in the rest of the Mediterranean, environmental problems are frequent in most North African countries (i.e. Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) and represent key challenges for their future economic and social development. Finding sustainable solutions to these environmental issues requires concerted action by all stakeholders, including civil society. 

The number of Civil Society Organisations in North Africa is increasing, therefore it is urgent to support them by strengthening their capacity to design, manage and implement efficient and concrete actions, in addition to exchange and network with each other throughout the Maghreb region. 

This is where the Small-scale Initiatives Programme for Civil Society Organisations in North Africa (PPI-OSCAN) comes into action! 

Strategic planing workshop held in April 2017- © IUCN-Med

Launched in 2014 by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med), the Small-scale Initiatives Programme for Civil Society Organisations in North Africa is a regional initiative that aims to support young organisations in the preparation and implementation of biodiversity conservation projects. This programme has had the endorsement of government institutions in charge of nature conservation in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. Beneficiary associations operate through 37 field projects selected among 248 proposals. They are taking part in an individual and collective support mechanisms to enhance their capacities and promote their emergence as active national actors.

The PPI-OSCAN programme supports 37 associations located in Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia in the implementation of small projects linked mainly to conserving and valuing biodiversity as well as the sustainable management of natural resources. 

Based at the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation in Malaga and the four involved countries, the PPI-OSCAN coordination team offers a technical, administrative and financial support to the beneficiary associations. This support, which also promotes the culture of dialogue and networking, contributed in developing a civil society network able to complement the public institutions' actions and to provide solutions to the challenges related to nature conservation in the region. 

By helping local CSOs, PPI-OSCAN works to conserve and value biodiversity, as well as to improve the sustainable management of natural resources in North Africa.

Olive tree Sidi Bou Zitoun (aged of 3000 years) - © PPI-OSCAN

In Algeria, PPI-OSCAN is supporting 10 CSOs focusing on environmental education, ecotourism, marine and terrestrial protected areas, freshwater and oasis ecosystems and beekeeping.

As an example, the Beekeeping Development Association of Blida Metidja project focuses on the valuing of pollen as a local product of the Blida Atlas, which will contribute in generating new incomes for beekeepers and the preservation of biodiversity. Various actors are involved in this project, among them: the beekeeping cooperative, agricultural and forestry services, Chréa National Park, University of Blida and the Technical Institute of breeding.

In Libya, PPI-OSCAN is supporting 5 initiatives focusing on forest protection, environmental education, protected areas and endangered plant conservation. 

Among these initiatives, the Oxygen Group is preparing an environmental heuristic book for children aged from 6 to 15 years old that aims to introduce them to environmental concepts. The book, which will include 25 environmental themes, will be led by four volunteer groups. 30 awareness and environmental education activities including 10 participatory workshops have been implemented.

In Morocco, PPI-OSCAN is helping 10 CSOs manage their projects in a way that allows them to learn, grow and strive for continuous improvement. The projects carried out by these CSOs focus on biodiversity, environmental education, freshwater ecosystems and ecotourism.

As an example, PPI-OSCAN is supporting the Ifker Association for Environmental Education and Sustainable Development in the establishment of an environmental education and sustainable development dynamics in the Moulay Idriss Zerhoun Community. This initiative aims to integrate sustainable development principles into Moulay Idriss Zerhoun's municipality action plans by involving local elected officials and relevant actors in the region. It also aims to involve young people in green jobs and to develop ecotourism while ensuring educational programs for schools in the region.

In Tunisia, PPI-OSCAN is helping 12 CSOs carry out their projects. These initiatives cover a great array of environmental and socioeconomic topics, focusing on water management, ecotourism, biodiversity conservation, environmental awareness, as well as women and youth empowerment. 

For example, The Exploralis Association is implementing its Med'Ex Project, which aims to establish the first inventory of the ecological richness of an area at the outfall of Lake "Oued Zarga" in the Medjerda River. This project seeks to prepare an inventory of the flora and the fauna and to present a map of the socioeconomic characteristics. This information will contribute in nurturing and publishing a report on the ecotourism potentiality in the area.

All the selected 37 CSOs are benefitting from PPI-OSCAN administrative, technical and financial support in order to implement their small initiatives related to the conservation and valuing of biodiversity, the sustainable management of natural resources and the fight against climate change.

PPI-OSCAN is also enhancing CSOs abilities to Network, develop new synergies, communicate with each other and reach out to governments to build strong partnerships, exchange ideas and discuss good practices.

PPI-OSCAN workshop participants © IUCN-Med

Additionally, a workshop aimed to capitalize on the preliminary results developed by the beneficiary associations of the Programme over the last two years, to share their experiences, lessons learned and success stories, was held in Tunis from 9 to 11 May 2017.

Arabic version: https://youtu.be/64DmjpMKv6k :النسخة العربية

This meeting discussed alternatives to ensure sustainability of projects' achievements, to improve partnerships, as well as the continuity of the Programme.

There were also sessions dedicated to results presentation for each country involved and working groups to address various common themes, such as: ecotourism, protected areas, environmental education, fund raising and accession to international programmes.

Parallel events were planned and booths were made available to participating associations.

The PPI-OSCAN was made possible thanks to a joint funding of the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) and the MAVA Foundation.

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