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MicroMegas is the second winner in the ‘Biodiversity and local knowledge’ project, steered jointly by IDDRI and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès. MicroMegas promotes cultural and artistic events designed to network French and Moroccan expertise.
How to promote local expertise while at the same time supporting knowledge-sharing between ecosystems in different countries? The MicroMegas project, launched by Hélène Ilbert, a researcher at the Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen, establishes links between two pilot zones, the Cévennes Natural Park in southern France and the Middle Atlas biosphere reserve, in Morocco. ‘We know a lot about these two regions: despite their cultural differences, they have a great deal in common. Both include arid mountain areas in protected zones, and both are experiencing significant economic difficulties while seeking to develop agricultural output and promote their local heritage.’ In the Middle Atlas, small towns like Ait Baha or Talouine produce saffron, argan oil, barbary fig oil and rose water. Exchanges with cooperative producers in the Cévennes will help groups of producers to optimize their skills and expertise, and preserve their local environment. French producers visiting Morocco will familiarize themselves with Berber techniques. The sustainable development initiative will be further supported by a programme of cultural exchange. Children’s involvement in the scheme is essential: an art workshop in Essaouira, for example, focused on the problem of plastic refuse in the sea. ‘We have established a dialogue based on incitement,’ says Hélène Ilbert, ‘instead of a more prescriptive approach.’
Musical events planned for early 2012.
Ilbert Hélène, Research director, Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen
Elhadad Gaultier Researcher, Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen
Hélène Joly, Deputy-director of the CEFE and Research director at the Cirad
Géraldine Paoli, artistic director, Nouzah Fennia association