From the Apennines to the Shouf: migrations of experiences and knowledge across the Mediterranean

From the Apennines to the Shouf: migrations of experiences and knowledge across the Mediterranean

The past year, a partnership of four private organizations based in Abruzzo (ILEX and Leaflab),  in Milan (Oikos) and in Lebanon (ACS in Shouf Biosphere Reserve - SBR) with the leadership of the Municipality of Fontecchio (Abruzzo, within the candidate- Middle Aterno Valley Model Forest), applied for a grant by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS) and won a relevant subsidy to fund the project “From the Apennines to the Shouf: migrations of experiences and knowledge across the Mediterranean (Lebanon)”.

The project will promote exchange actions between Italy and Lebanon with purposes of best practices replication (workshops and visits in Italy and Lebanon). The interconnections among the partners’ network will be consolidated and the creation of new collaborations will be facilitated, hence strengthening a system of knowledge exchange beyond the end of the project (through joining international networks, twinning, etc.).

The project will encourage the creation of participatory management mechanisms that will ensure the long-term feasibility of the conservation and promotional activities of agro-ecosystems based on the models tested in Abruzzo, Marche an Tuscany framing them according to participatory management schemes such as Model Forest, Water Framework Directive and Slow Food community.

This project arises from the long-lasting collaboration between the Shouf Biosphere Reserve (SBR), the Municipality of Fontecchio (CF) and the geographical area of the Aterno Valley and Sirente Velino Natural Park, that dates back to 2012 and was further strengthened with the Mediterranean Mosaics project (MM, funded by MAVA Foundation and then through the Medforval Network, wherein Oikos holds the role of secretariat.

The Municipality of Fontecchio will have an institutional and coordination role and will be responsible for ensuring the proper management of the activities in Italy; the territorial partnership includes Ilex and Leaf Lab, with an operational role in facilitating the transfer of Italy’s best practices, while Oikos will accompany the CF in managing the project in terms of operational and administrative efficiency and will provide support in communication aspects. ACS will facilitate the relations with Lebanese local authorities and ensure the ownership of the project by beneficiaries and stakeholders through the capitalization of relationships and knowledge of the target area.

The intervention is built over 3 results:

R1. Local Institutions, local users and stakeholders make use of voluntary strategic and participatory planning tools for the management of water resources. Reference will be made to the Water Framework Directive model and in particular to the River Contract.

R2. Local Institutions and agricultural entrepreneurs operate in a coordinated way in the management of "short supply chains" of SBR agro-food products with a spill-over effect on the income increase. The working approach will be addressed by adapting to the local context the experience of the "Slow Food Community of the Aterno Valley Model Forest", developed by ILEX in collaboration with Slow Food.

R3. Local Institutions and the private sector actors acquire good practices and knowledge in the field of management and planning of agro-forest landscapes and their resources, with special reference to non-wood forest products, biomass, and tourism. The project proposes a coaching process based on the Aterno Valley candidate Model Forest, with the support of the Mediterranean Model Forest Network.