From February 18th to February 27th, youth delegates from six Mediterranean countries met in the mountainous areas of Greece to talk about biodiversity. Jordan, Israel, France, Italy, Turkey and Greece, all at or close to the Mediterranean Sea, shared their problems and concerns related to biodiversity and discussed solutions. The Greek non-profit organization Mediterranean SOS Network hosted the meeting.
Presentations, games and art workshops encouraged the 36 young participants to interact with different nationalities to find out more about Mediterranean nature. FoEME representatives presented different projects, such as the Sharhabil bin Hassneh EcoPark (short: SHE Park) in the Jordan Valley. They stated the importance of those protected natural areas to maintain and recover biodiversity. That Jordan could be very green too surprised many of the participants from other countries.
Local environmentalists and experts were invited to inform especially about the Greek area Arcadia – where the meeting took place. Excursions to eco centers, museums, nature and monasteries showed the huge variety of Greece: steep valleys, red hills, houses built into stone, stone beaches, coastal line as well as different fauna and flora.
Biodiversity was the main topic. Meanwhile, different traditions were also included in the program. Intercultural nights of each country helped to understand differences but also discover similarities. Food, clothes, music and dances encouraged the young people and locals to participate and learn.
Even regional events invited to traditional barbeque, for example in Lenidio, located on the peninsula Peloponnese. The mixture of different nationalities was emphasized in the Mediterranean SOS Network program for the following reasons: to learn about nature, how to conserve it and make international connections.
Mamoun, who participated for the Jordanian FoEME team, was “thankful that I could see all this. I learned a lot about environment, got to know different people and made good friends.” He lives in Ghor Mazraa, an area in the Jordan Valley which is endangered because of the shrinking Dead Sea and occurring sink holes.