The e-course entitled “Water Management in Biosphere Reserves of the Mediterranean and beyond” refers actually to the second online phase of the 2023-2024  Asterousia Hybrid University. The e-course extended over three weeks and combined asynchronous and synchronous learning, covering the following thematic areas:

  • Week 1 focused on the MAB Programme, the SDG frameworks and designation of BRs;
  • Week 2 focused on Integrated Management approaches, including WEFE and the Source to Sea approach;
  • Week 3  was dedicated to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and youth-led initiatives in BRs.

The topics were presented through a variety of means such as: video lectures of invited experts, articles and guidebooks, visual material from Phase A, as well as interactive exercises. In addition, the learners had the opportunity to “meet-the-expert” of each Week during the three live sessions. All video lectures as well as the recorded meet-the-expert sessions are available on the MIO-ECSDE Youtube Channel.

From the 115 applicants about half actively followed the course during its three weeks life, and one third of them accomplished all learning tasks on time and awarded the certificate.

The e-course in numbers: 
Applications: 115
Active Learners:  58
Trainers: 12
Countries  25
Certificates: 21
Meet the expert live meetings: 3 (once a week)
Overall satisfaction rate  8.9 /10


Integrating water management ensures that we are more effective in our management. This requires people to talk to each other so communities are not working in silos. The Water quality assurances should align with fishing and other extractive uses which should be in accordance with recreational uses. If the management comes from desperate entities, they need to collaborate and integrate all policies. 

Week 1: What is IWRM to you?

The main challenge in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) may be the concept of “integration” among different sectors, who, to some extent, keep working in silos. 

Week 2: Meet the Expert session

To apply IWRM is to close the loop on water use, to protect local water resources, and to supple local communities and the nature with the local water. In IWRM, different perceptions and needs are taken into account, and the varying demands for water are met by sustainable management approach.

Week 1, What is IWRM to you?


The main organisers & sponsors of the 2023 -2024 Asterousia Hybrid University are:

  • The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Link)
  • Region of Crete (Link)
  • Heraklion Development Agency (Link)
  • Association for the Protection of Asterousia (Link)
  • UNESCO Chair and Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education at the University of Athens (UoA)
  • The Greek National Committee of the MAB/UNESCO Programme
  • Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) through the MEdIES initiative (Link MIO-ECSDE, Link MEdIES)
  • Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) (Link)

Other contributors: The Hybrid University will bring together a series of actors involved with freshwater or marine water management in and around the Asterousia BR, including:

  • Natural History Museum of Crete
  • HCMR Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
  • The Oceanographic Institute and Aquarium
  • Local Associations of professionals