All Mediterranean countries vary in their physical geography, biodiversity and their historic, cultural and social character. They present different environmental processes and pressures and diverse governance and economic conditions. West Asia region (Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan) has been highly known for the cultural practices carried out by its community especially in rural areas. These practices have always had a positive effect on the environment and communities have always depended on these practices for income generation. Today, with the urban sprawl, development, and technology, people started looking towards the businesses in the city in order to meet the high livings costs, thus, culture is losing its identity.
A consortium of NGOs (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), have joined forces to undertake a project to assess and support cultural conservation practices in the Mediterranean Basin funded by MAVA Foundation.
Aim of Project:
The project aim is to reinforce traditional practices, techniques and ways of living harmoniously with nature as well as celebrating the ingenuity of people all across the Mediterranean to protect and manage their land, water and resources. The goal and vision of the project is to contribute to a real revival of such practices so that they remain – or become – robust enough to stand their ground in the 21st century.
After six months of research and literature review, all Mediterranean partners in the project had a meeting in Spain. During the meeting cultural practices of the different sub-regions were presented. The partners were taken care of by an NGO called Shepherd without Borders. The NGO has been established in 1992 and its aim was to collaborate with shepherds to bring back traditional transhumance on foot. The NGO, first, has traced all transhumance routes in Spain and has been working on Policy making, research and monitoring, training and building capacity, awareness and education, infrastructure development, marketing and branding.
The cultural practice that was common between all countries along the Mediterranean borders and that was put forward for the next six months was grazing. Each of the countries had to put a draft action plan for the coming six months for grazing. Taking note that the action plan put for the phase 2 of the project will be the base for further long term project in each country.
On the Move is an exhibition of professional photography (and film) commissioned by the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture. It celebrates the lives, challenges and ecological knowledge of transhumant shepherds and nomadic pastoralists in the Mediterranean region. From North
Africa to the Middle East, from the Iberian Peninsula to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, the work of 5 professional photographers will be featured in this unique travelling exhibition. On the Move will be launched in Geneva (Museum) or
Paris (UNESCO) and then travel to Spain, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and North Africa before returning to Geneva.
– To celebrate and assert the great value of the ecological knowledge of transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists;
– To raise awareness of the importance of these lifestyles for both nature and culture;
– To assist in lobbying for increased recognition and strengthened legislation;
– To raise additional funds for supporting projects that assist transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists in relation to biodiversity conservation.
The exhibition will present a collection of photographs that depict the intertwined relationships between transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists with their natural environments. The exhibition will be a display of photography, along with some fi lm, scientific data and findings (in the form of maps, publications, info graphic charts, etc.).
The curation will be kept simple, elegant and minimalist
– Photography will be printed on high quality photographic paper (in various formats), and hung using bull dog clips from either a strung wire or nails.
The photography should imbibe the following messages
“For millennia in the Mediterranean, there has been a highly symbiotic relationship between transhumant herders / nomadic pastoralists and biodiversity.”
“These cultural practices have demonstrated positive effects on biodiversity.”
“Within these communities we fi nd a rich source of traditional ecological knowledge.”
“Transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists have much to teach us about sustainability.”
“The life-ways of transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists are threatened today. Biodiversity declines as these types of practices die out.”
“Transhumant herders and nomadic pastoralists feel a deep connection with nature and their life-ways make them feel free.”
We will promote each participating photographer throughout the duration of the exhibition by accompanying each set of relevant photographs with attribution, a short biography, and links to personal and professional websites/contact information. We will also dedicate a post to each photographer on both the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature & Culture and DiversEarth’s facebook pages, write recommendations on LinkedIn (if applicable), and recommend you to all of our contacts. In addition, each photographer will have a permanent page (biography, personal/professional website details, and contact information) on the exhibition website which will be set up at the end of the travelling exhibition.