28/08/14 - Restoration plan in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (Lebanon)

The Mediterranean region has been shaped by millennia of human interventions, leading to landscapes that are identified by climate models as particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They are already strongly affected by global change that includes migration of rural populations to cities, abandonment of agricultural lands and practices, and correlated losses of biodiversity, landscape, and know how.

Under the leadership of LIPU (Birdlife Italy), a consortium of NGOs and private companies with a solid experience in landscape planning and management, are exploring ways to adapt these landscapes to climate and global changes, to the benefit of both the people and biodiversity. The project focus is on two areas in Lebanon (Shouf Biosphere Reserve, Ammiq Wetland) and Italy (Gran Sasso NP, Sirente Regional Park, Penne Lake Wetland). They are all representative of situations found elsewhere in the Mediterranean Basin.

Watch the video presentation about the restoration plan in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve funded by MAVA with technical support of Sylvestris and implemented in Lebanon by ACS and AFDC in collaboration with LIPU Italy.

14/08/14 – Highlight on ATN’s work in Northeast Portugal

Associação Transumância e Natureza (ATN) is a nonprofit environmental NGO, created in 2000 in the northeastern part of Portugal, which MAVA has been supporting since its beginnings.

ATN owns and manages the Faia Brava Reserve (800 hectares) in the Côa Valley, the first private protected area in Portugal (FYI it is the first private reserve at the scale of the country). ATN also manages several other reserves in the Northeast of Portugal. The association’s mission is to conserve, value, study and promote the natural heritage of Northeast Portugal through sustainability and community participation, by managing and protecting natural areas.

See this informative video on ATN’s activities:

28/07/14 – New study on Swiss biodiversity politics


In 2012, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the new national biodiversity strategy. The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment is currently working on elaborating an action plan for this strategy which will be submitted for consultation to the concerned federal offices by end 2014.

At MAVA’s request, the organization SVS/Birdlife Switzerland coordinated the preparation of a study on the Swiss biodiversity politics. This study will serve as a useful reference for the upcoming discussions as part of the adoption and implementation of the national biodiversity strategy action plan.

The study confirms that Switzerland is moving in the right direction on biodiversity matters, but that the action plan should be enlarged to reach the objectives fixed for 2020. The publication can be downloaded in pdf format (only in German, summary available in German and French) here.

18/07/14 - Consultancy in the area of conservation financing

FIBA is seeking, in collaboration with the NGO TINIGUENA in Guinea Bissau, a consultant  in the area of conservation financing, with a particular focus on marine protected areas, to carry out the identification and evaluation of  funding options for the Urok islands Community MPA in the Bijagos archipelago, in the framework of the “Biocos” project (Management of marine and coastal biodiversity in West Africa by strengthening conservation and monitoring initiatives in the MPAs).

Perfect fluency in Portuguese and French or English is required.

Applications must be submitted by email no later than 31 August 2014.

For more details on this expertise, refer to the TORs.

18/07/14 - Call for application: Conservation communications expert (FIBA/Océanium)

In collaboration with the Senegalese association Océanium, FIBA is looking for a conservation communications expert to support the implementation of component C3 of the project ‘Gestion de la biodiversité marine et côtière Ouest africaine par le renforcement des initiatives de conservation et de suivi dans les AMP – « BIOCOS »’.

The work will take place over a 12-month period from September 2014 to September 2015.

Further details can be found in the attached ToRs (in French).

Applications will have to be submitted by email by 31 July 2014 latest.

03/07/14 - Good news from Tyrol

The provincial government of Tyrol (Austria) recently took several encouraging decisions relating to the development of hydropower and the protection of rivers in the region.

The government decided to halt plans for a hydropower plant in the Mittlerer Inn region and at the same time defined 30-40 river stretches in very good ecological condition in the Tyrolean Oberland to remain free of any hydropower development.

In addition, a round table will be organized to harmonise the sustainable hydropower vision proposed by WWF-Austria and the development plans of the Tyrolean hydropower company (TIWAG).

These decisions are encouraging and are due in a large part to the perseverance and hard work of our partner WWF-Austria, who has been fighting for an environment-friendly development of hydropower projects in Tyrol for a long time.

27/06/14 - Fundacion Naturaleza y Hombre in the New York Times

Campanarios de Azaba
Fundacion Naturaleza y Hombre (FNyH) is an environmental NGO working in the West Iberian part of Spain, created in 1994 and supported by MAVA since 2009. Its main focus is on the conservation of the natural heritage and traditional human activities, protected natural areas as well as ecosystem restoration and recovery of endangered species of flora and fauna.

The New York Times recently issued a very informative article on the rewilding approach which features the work of FNyH.  Read the article here.

19/06/14 – Join MAVA’s new online community platform: Collaborate4impact

Collaborate4impact (c4i) is MAVA’s new virtual community space designed to bring together global experts to collaborate on ideas that can transform our global financial systems. This is an experimental crowdsourcing concept built within the frame of MAVA’s Sustainable Economy programme.

Currently, the financial systems operate in a business-as-usual approach by focusing on short-term gain and profit without acknowledging the planetary boundaries of our natural systems. How we re-wire these systems to act as agents of change that support and promote sustainable development, while restoring and safeguarding our environment, has yet to be determined.  We believe that c4i can help provide the answers.

So, join our community and share your ideas! Engage with others and their ideas so that together, we can help create the pathways that will bring about change. Read more and to sign up go to:

13/06/14 – Protecting migratory birds in the Mediterranean

MAVA has been working with Birdlife International since 2013 on a project to establish and strengthen a dynamic network of conservation NGOs to better protect key species, sites and habitats on the African-Eurasian flyway. The current focus of the network is on combating bird crime and limiting bird mortality due to the development of wind farms.
See Birdlife’s update on the latest developments of this project here.

11/06/14 – Oil company Soco not to drill in Virunga World Heritage Site

© Brent Stirton / Reportage by Getty Images / WWF-Canon

London-listed oil company Soco International PLC has announced today that it will end its operations in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is also committing to remain out of all other UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This announcement is a tremendous victory for conservation and puts an end to the unacceptable pressure that Soco’s oil exploration plans would have put on Virunga’s environment and communities.

This success can be largely attributed to the extremely active campaigning work led by WWF since last summer to protect Virunga National Park, and supported by MAVA. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and a treasured World Heritage Site. The park is host to invaluable biodiversity and rare animals such as the legendary and critically endangered mountain gorillas. Additionally, over 50,000 families depend on the park’s Lake Edward for jobs, food and drinking water.

More info on WWF’s site.

10/06/14 – Association AGIR winner of Equateur 2014 Prize

The Moroccan association AGIR (Association de gestion intégrée des Ressources) has been awarded the Equateur 2014 Prize for the North Africa and Middle-East region, together with two other organisations. This prize is given every two years by the Equator Initiative and recognises twenty-five local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities.

MAVA supports the association AGIR since 2012 in the implementation of a sustainable management model for the Al Hoceima National Park. This is being done by involving artisanal fishermen in the creation and management of a network of no-fishing zones inside and around the park.

MAVA warmly congratulates the association AGIR for this prize.

28/05/14 – Laying of the foundation stone at the future ‘Parc animalier de La Garenne’

Enclos des loups et Grande Volière (c) La Garenne
The wildlife park of La Garenne, situated in the Canton de Vaud in Switzerland, will be totally rebuilt to give visitors the opportunity to discover the Swiss fauna in optimal conditions. The laying of the foundation stone ceremony took place on 27 May 2014 and the construction work will last about two years.

MAVA, who supports this initiative together with other donors, has worked with the park on different projects since 1998. With this project, MAVA and the park will be able to accomplish a common objective – the conservation of regional biodiversity.

Thanks to these new facilities, the park will be able to pursue its mission which is: animal care, preservation of threatened species, education about regional fauna and its environment, and presentation of various species in their respective habitats.

14/05/14 - MAVA Annual Report 2013

MAVA Annual Report 2013
MAVA’s 2013 Annual Report is available!

We are pleased to offer you compelling stories celebrating some of the great work undertaken by our partners last year.
2013 has been a challenging and successful year, driven by the unparalleled commitment and motivation of our partners. We hope you will enjoy reading about their work.
Download the report here.

02/05/14 - Luc Hoffmann to receive the Category III Zayed International Prize for the Environment

Luc Hoffmann has been honored with the Zayed International Prize for Environmental Action Leading to Positive Change in Society (category III) for his work in philanthropy and the conservation of wetlands. He will receive this prestigious award on 7 May 2014 at a special ceremony in Dubai.

This prize recognizes and promotes major pioneering contributions in the field of environment and sustainable development, in accordance with the development philosophy and vision of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and in support of global initiatives such as the Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation for Sustainable Development. More information on the prize can be found here.

MAVA wishes to warmly congratulate Luc Hoffmann on this award!

16/04/14 – « Best of the Best » Award for the Society for the Protection of Prespa

The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), one of MAVA’s longstanding partners, has been honoured by the European Commission for the second time, with a “Best of the Best” Award for its implementation of the LIFE + Information and Communication project ‘Fish, Fisheries & European Policy in the Prespa Basin’.

The award is given annually by the European Commission to four or five projects out of all those implemented under the European Union’s LIFE funding programme. The award is judged on the best implementation and management of projects according to the original proposal and the project results.

MAVA warmly congratulates SPP for this award.

For more information about SPP, click here.

11/04/14 - Birds' paradise Kopacki Rit on the Danube saved

Danube-Drava confluence in Croatia (c) Mario Romulic
The Croatian Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection has decided to stop plans to regulate and channelize a 53-kilometer long stretch of the Danube River. If the plans had gone ahead, the Kopacki Rit Nature Park in Croatia, an internationally renowned bird paradise, as well as Serbia’s most important Danube Nature Reserve – Gornje Podunavlje, would have literally dried out.

This decision comes after massive resistance from conservation organisations such as WWF, Euronatur, Birdlife International, Wetland international as well as local NGOs. The EU Commission and the EU Parliament had opposed the regulation project, which is contrary to EU law.

More information on this campaign which was supported by MAVA here.

10/03/14 - European vultures severely threatened by legal approval of Diclofenac in Europe

Europe’s vultures are facing one their greatest challenges ever: Diclofenac.

Veterinary diclofenac kills vultures and caused a dramatic (99%) and rapid decline in the vultures in the Indian subcontinent. Significant effort has been made to successfully ban the marketing of this drug in that region, as non-toxic alternatives exist. The appearance of this drug in Europe – it is now legally on sale in Spain and Italy, and has been exported from Italy to countries like Serbia and Turkey – represents a new and significant threat to the European vulture populations, and creates a precedent that can have global impact on the world´s vultures. MAVA’s partner, the Vulture Conservation Foundation is taking urgent action to combat this threat.

For more information, click here 

04/02/14 – Guinea-Bissau designates the Bijagós Archipelago on the List of Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Convention

Parc National Marin Joao Vieira Poilaõ_Bijagos (c) Thierry Renaud

Guinea-Bissau has named the large Archipel Bolama-Bijagós as its second Ramsar Site. This nomination recognizes the importance of the archipelago as a wintering site for many waterbirds, and as a refuge for many vulnerable species: marine turtles, Grey parrots, hippopotamus, …

This strong and encouraging political signal is the result of long conservation advocacy work in the field, led by several organisations in the region, of which some are MAVA’s partners such as IUCN and IBAP.

Additional information available on Ramsar’s website here.

31/01/14 – WWF campaign convinces Romania to commit to protecting its living rivers

Minister of Environment Varga and WWF DCP_Romania Director Magor Csibi © WWF Romania
In November 2013, WWF launched a public campaign against the construction of small hydropower plants in protected areas and on rivers in Romania. A petition to the Minister for Water, Forests and Fisheries was signed by more than 18,000 Romanians.

As a result of this intense advocacy work, which has been supported by MAVA, the Romanian government recently committed to prepare a bill on hydropower production in line with the EU legislation on nature conservation.

Read more about this successful public campaign here.

28/01/14 – Don’t miss the 2014 winter paper edition of the French magazine Thalassa which showcases en Haut’s kite aerial photography!

Dessin cerf volant v(c) en haut

The ‘en haut collective has developed a technique that can take spectacular aerial images at low cost. MAVA is proud to be supporting the work of this collective whose technique has been adapted to the needs of Guinea Bissau’s protected area managers. In cooperation with the national Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP), kite aerial photography is being used to carry out participatory monitoring of the region’s development, or even to undertake threatened species counts (birds, hippopotamus) without disturbing them.

Read more about the IBAP/en haut project funded by MAVA here.

09/01/14 – Faia Brava Reserve in the New York Times

Faia Brava
Associação Transumância e Natureza is a local environmental NGO operating since 2000 in Northeast Portugal. In 13 years it achieved tangible conservation gains and pioneered novel conservation approaches, such as the creation of the first private nature reserve in the country, Faia Brava.

The New York Times recently issued an excellent article on the work undertaken by Associação Transumância e Natureza in Faia Brava, Portugal. Read the article here.

08/01/14 – Coto Doñana National Park celebrates its 50th anniversary

Sand Dune & Pine TreesMAVA is happy to join WWF-Spain in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the designation of Spain’s Doñana Biological Reserve.

Located where the Guadalquivir River reaches the Atlantic Ocean, Coto Doñana is considered one of the most valuable wetlands in Europe. The region is a sanctuary for millions of migratory birds and endangered species, including the imperial eagle and Iberian lynx.

Coto Doñana National Park was established 50 years ago when WWF agreed to purchase of 6,794 hectares of land. This saved Doñana from destruction and transformed the region into the first biological reserve of Spain.

Throughout Luc Hoffmann’s lifetime in conservation he has helped address threats in selected places of global conservation importance. Coto Doñana is one of these places and work carries on today in Doñana with MAVA support.

Click here for more information on the story of Doñana.

11/12/13 – A new study presents the cultural conservation practices in the Mediterranean

RapidAssessmentReport_web 1

The Mediterranean offers a unique biodiversity with distinctive cultural identities and characteristic cultural landscapes. This rich heritage is partly due to the continuous interaction between nature and culture which are inextricably linked in this region

Some of the cultural values have been integrated into the practices of the Mediterranean populations for centuries, if not millennia. It is only relatively recently that they have started to be discontinued.

Under the auspices of MAVA, a consortium of NGOs* have come together to undertake an assessment of the cultural conservation practices in the Mediterranean Basin. The aim being to understand these practices and contribute to the revival of some of the traditional knowledge, which has so far often not been acknowledged by the conservation community.

The ‘Rapid Assessment of Cultural Conservation Practices in the Mediterranean’, which presents the initial findings of the study, has just been published and can be downloaded here.

Out of all practices presented in the assessment, transhumant pastoralism has been identified as the most cross-cutting practice in this project. The consortium will explore this practice as a case study in 2014.

* The Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture is composed of the following organisations: Associacion Trashumancia y Naturaleza, DiversEarth, Doga Dernegi, Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (Med-INA), Society for Protection of Nature in the Lebanon (SPNL), and WWF, with technical support from IUCN and Fauna & Flora International

05/12/13 – A gathering to address the issue of drying lakes

Lakes are drying out all over the world. In order to discuss the reasons and consequences of this harsh reality, and to find solutions to address them, the Turkish organisation Doğa Derneği hosted a gathering on 17-18 September 2013 in Burdur, Turkey, with the support of MAVA.

The meeting was attended by activists, academics and public officials from Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. All participants face similar problems in their regions and this meeting enabled them to exchange experiences, share best practices in lake restoration and think about how to develop activism to save drying lakes.

One concrete outcome of this gathering was the decision to establish a regional communications platform to exchange information on the situation of drying lakes in the concerned countries and the work undertaken to protect them. The platform will also be open to other people who work to keep lakes alive in Central Asia, Africa, Middle East and Balkans.

For further information, click here.

28/11/13 - MedWet enters a new phase and seeks to appoint a Coordinator

The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) is a long-term regional cooperation mechanism under the Ramsar Convention. MedWet relocates its secretariat in 2014 to the Camargue (France) for the start of a development phase to firmly establish MedWet as a key mechanism for water and wetland cooperation in the Mediterranean within the next three years. To guide and drive this process, MedWet is seeking to appoint a Coordinator.

More information and online application for this post are available on the IUCN website. IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, provides administrative services for the Ramsar Convention.

Applications are invited from all interested and suitably qualified persons. The deadline for applications is 5 January 2014.

Note: A candidate should submit his/her application online, using the link above. No other method of application will be considered

25/11/13 - Highs and lows for the monk seals in Mauritania

Thanks to conservation efforts of MAVA’s partners CBD-Habitat and Annajah, the monk seal colony in Mauritania now has more than 220 animals. Nevertheless, the situation is still very fragile and the need to maintain the reserve is as important as on day one. As a clear example, on 27 September 2013, a gill net was detected by the surveillance team in front of one of the breeding caves inside the reserve. Sea conditions didn’t allow the marine patrol to remove it and when they finally managed to do so three days later, two young monk seals had been captured by the fishing gear. A three-month old male was saved, but, sadly, a juvenile female died drowned entangled.

See the video below from CBD-Habitat or click here to read more about this story.

15/10/13 – Mario Broggi receives the 2013 EuroNatur Award

EuroNatur president Christel Schroeder and Dr. Mario Broggi © Peter Schmenger

The 2013 EuroNatur Award was recently awarded to Mario Broggi, a long-time friend of MAVA and former Board member. The EuroNatur Award for Environmental Excellence honors an outstanding commitment in the field of nature conservation and preservation, environmental education and sustainable development. The award is presented to personalities who have committed themselves in an exemplary manner to the preservation of natural resources over a long period of time.

Through his tenure as a MAVA Board member and then special advisor to the Alpine Programme, Mario helped  to develop MAVA’s strategy in the Alps. His knowledge and expertise contributed to shaping all of MAVA’s activities.

MAVA warmly congratulates Mario Broggi on this award of excellence.

For more information on EuroNatur and on the prize, click here.

11/10/13 – Luc Hoffmann Institute website launched

The Luc Hoffmann Institute (LHI) launched its public website this week. The LHI was created by WWF, with MAVA’s support, to respond to the most important questions facing global sustainable development and conservation by connecting WWF’s global network of practitioners and scientists with research capacity and multi-disciplinary thought leaders from around the world. The site outlines its purpose, current research projects, and recruitment for new Luc Hoffmann Fellows.

Read more about the Institute on its brand new website:

23/09/13 – Mura-Drava-Danube initiative finalist of 2013 European Riverprize

Arno and Tanja with finalists' award (c) David Prokop

MAVA wishes to congratulate WWF and EuroNatur who were one of the four finalists of the International River Foundation (IRF) 2013 European Riverprize, for the Mura-Drava-Danube initiative.

The IRF European Riverprize is one of the world’s largest environmental awards, which gives recognition, reward and support to those who have developed and implemented outstanding, visionary and sustainable programmes in river management.

The “Mura-Drava-Danube“, also known as the “Amazon of Europe”, will be the world’s first five-country UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Europe’s largest riverine protected area and can be seen as a flagship for regional cooperation and sustainable development based on a “green vision”. It will cover more than 800,000 hectares and be a safe home to the highest density of breeding pairs of White-tailed eagles in Europe and other endangered species such as the Little tern, Black stork, otters and beavers.

MAVA has been supporting WWF’s conservation work for the protection of the “Amazon of Europe” for several years. See more information about this initiative here.

03/09/13 - What does the future hold? This is the question that the Swiss newspaper '24 heures' is prompting its readers to engage in.

From 12 August to 13 September, 24 heures is publishing a special series to reflect on what familiar surroundings might look like in the future (in the fields of biodiversity, neuronal research and health) based on research of 3 local partner institutions: the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Lausanne University (UNIL) and Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

Every day, the newspaper is presenting a different theme and related scenarios for the future developed by researchers. The readers can then give their opinion on these scenarios by voting on This operation will continue until 22 September during the yearly Swiss national fair in Lausanne (‘Comptoir Suisse 2013’) where visitors will be able to interact directly on a wall of Ipads and also give their opinion on the various themes.

The aim of this project is to enable the public to understand the importance, quality and diversity of research undertaken by local institutions.

MAVA has supported this innovative local project, and in particular in the elaboration of the environment related themes.

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