Projects from Biodiversity Protection Community (2019-2022)



Fifteen thematic projects have been approved by the Interreg Med programme since 2016 under the programme’s priority axis 3 “Natural & cultural resources - Protecting and promoting Mediterranean natural and cultural resources” and the specific objective 3.2 “To maintain biodiversity and natural ecosystems through strengthening the management and networking of protected areas”.

All these projects gather in a community spearheaded by the umbrella Mediterranean project previously known as PANACeA, a Mediterranean horizontal initiative aiming to mainstream biodiversity management efforts for environmental sustainability by creating synergies and new partnerships among diverse Mediterranean stakeholders.


on going PROJECTS FROM Mbcp (2nd PHASE)


Engaging Mediterranean key actors in Ecosystem Approach to manage Marine Protected Areas to face Climate Change. 

MPA-ENGAGE, led by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council, is funded by the Interreg MED program with a budget of about 3 million euros. MPA-ENGAGE aims primarily to support Mediterranean MPAs to adapt to and mitigate the ongoing climate change effects in the Mediterranean Sea. Through a participatory approach, MPA-Engage will monitor in a harmonized way the climate change impacts, will elaborate vulnerability assessments and will develop climate change adaptation action plans in 7 Marine Protected Areas located in 6 Mediterranean countries, namely Albania, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain.

Climate change is dramatically affecting the Mediterranean Sea, which is warming at a rate 20% faster than the world’s average. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), despite the nature-based solution they offer to support efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, are the first ones to feel the climate change effects. Several Mediterranean MPAs are already facing major biodiversity and functional alterations due to climate change, whereas others will likely face them in the next few decades. There is, therefore, an urgency to mitigate these risks and to consider adaptation options in partnership with local communities, decision-makers, civil society organizations, research bodies, and other socio-economic actors at local, national and regional level.   

Keywords: adaptation plans for MPAs, climate change, building capacity, assessing risks, adaptability, resilience, biodiversity, local communities, vulnerability assessments, MPA managers, local stakeholders, Mediterranean MPA sentinel sites.

Led by:Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council

Project Manager: Quim Garrabou, ICM-CSIC 

Communication Officer: Ernesto Azzurro, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

Duration: 32 months



Support MPA's effectiveness through strong and connected networks in the Mediterranean.

The MPA NETWORKS project will support testing and adaptation of tools and recommendations from previous projects to improve marine conservation on selected pilot sites and facilitate the transfer of lessons learnt and best practices to the MPA community around the Mediterranean. Networks of MPA managers will be developed and reinforced at national, supra-national and Mediterranean levels, and a regular thematic capacity building programme will be set-up. Networking activities will facilitate exchanges between MPA managers and other actors, capitalisation of good practices and increased knowledge. This approach will be amplified by connecting networks. Through joined forces of networks and a dynamic bottom-up approach linking experience on the ground and decision-making processes, MPA voices will be coordinated and joined recommendations will support policy-making at international, European, and national level.

Keywords:sustainable solutions, marine conservation, testing and adaptation of tools, recommendations, MPAs, transferring and capitalisation strategy, event building

Led by: MedPan

Project Manager: Marie Romani, Marianne Lang, MedPan

Duration:32 months



Preserving biodiversity from plastics in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas

PLASTICBUSTERSMPAs project entails actions that address the whole management cycle of ML, from monitoring and assessment to prevention and mitigation,as well as actions to strengthen networking between and among pelagic and coastal MPAs located in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia, Albania and Greece. A joint governance plan will be defined through a participatory approach and the concretized commitment of Med MPAs (moUs) to implement it will result in an increased surface area of habitats supported to attain a better conservation status. The impacts of Marine Litter (ML) on marine biota within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), including endangered species, remain poorly addressed however it is clear that prevention and mitigation measures are urgently needed in Mediterranean Sea.

Keywords: marine litter, biodiversity, marine protected areas, monitoring, management, policy, basin, good ecological status, coastal management and maritime issues, governance, waste and pollution.

Led by: ISPRA, Italy 

Project manager: Teresa Romeo, ISPRA; M. Christina Fossi, University of Siena-UNISI

Duration: 48 months 





Governance and management of Posidonia beach-dune systems across the Mediterranean

POSBEMED2 develops planning strategies that enhance the value of the Posidonia beach-dune environment and integrate them into the overall coastal strategy, while also addressing concerns and educating stakeholders, based on findings of the previous project (POSBEMED). It further addresses key knowledge gaps, providing information that will enhance management decisions on adaptation, policies, planning and promotion in Protected Areas. 

The POSBEMED2 project, by implementing testing, intervention measures, preparation of monitoring protocols and management interventions in at least 11 coastal PA sites in Spain, Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy and Croatia has a vision of promoting new approaches and solutions for a sustainable management of Posidonia landscape and beaches with Posidonia banquettes in Protected Areas across the Mediterranean. The project will also create the baseline for a common transnational monitoring programme that will further explore the use of advanced technologies. The broad set of tools and approaches with local stakeholder involvement, and capacity trainings for key groups will promote dialogue processes, engagement and recognition of the role of banquettes in beach ecosystems. 

Keywords:posidonia beach-dunes, protected areas, coastal PA, management decisions, adaptations, policies

Led by: Autonomous Region of Sardinia – Department of the Environment

Project Manager: Laura Santona, Regione Sardegna

Communication Officer: Maria del Mar Otero, IUCN

Duration: 32 months  



Promoting multilevel governance for tuning up biodiversity protection in marine areas

The TUNE UP project has multiple objectives, addressing the need for a strategic and collaborative approach to the management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and biodiversity protection, through testing and use of a governance tool involving various stakeholders, based on the experience of the River / Wetlands Contracts tested by the INTERREG MED project 'WETNET'.

This project builds on the results of 'MED WETNET', taking advantage of the flexibility and feasibility of the river / wetland methodology, developing further the MPAs management and evaluating its effectiveness through the implementation of 10 MPAs by the project partners. TUNE UP's approach is based on achieving coordination between the managing institutions at all levels as well as integrating the funding and management plans, thus reinforcing the goal of protecting biodiversity.

The project partnership includes MPAs managed entities, which will allow TUNE UP to deliver good practices between the project partners and among the institutions involved in managing the MPAs, as well as to the Mediterranean countries in general.

Keywords: wetlands, climate change, marine protected areas, MPAs management

Led by: ANATOLIKI SA (Greece)

Project Manager: ANATOLIKI (Kostas)

Communication officer: Amvrakikos Gulf-Lefkada Management Body

Duration: 32 months



The strategic project SHAREMED from the Interreg Med Program responds to the need to assess and address the increasing presence of coexisting environmental threats, that propagate in space and time also across political boundaries, calls for a transactional coordinated actions based on evidence-rooted common understanding.

SHAREMED will engage stakeholders and authorities, and jointly define state-of-the-art and regional strategies, collate and harmonise existing info, data and knowledge and contribute to joint production of a database of coherent data, it will also define common procedures and jointly produce atlas of state and hazard maps, integrate existing observing infrastructures in a common transnational system of systems and jointly disseminate observations through common portals, enhance forecast capabilities through development and implementation of coastal high resolution transnational systems, explore potential of new observing methodologies, define roadmaps, guidelines, action plans. The actions above will help to increase capability of authorities and scientific community to observe, assess and address environmental threats, increase coherence and efficacy of assessments, favour the access and use of existing information and project joint products. The project will capitalise on knowledge provided by previous projects and existing EU infrastructures, and will contribute to the definition of long term strategies and action plans for assessing and addressing environmental threats in the Mediterranean.

Keywords: Coastal management and maritime issues, Gouvernance, partnership, Sustainable management of natural resources

Led by: Instituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (INOGS)

Project Manager: Cosimo Solidoro, INOGS

Communication Officer: Tomasso Scarpa, INOGS

Duration: 32 months 





 Joint measures to preserve natural ecosystems from marine litter in Mediterranean Protected Areas

ACT4LITTERaims at reviewing the most promising proposed measures to effectively tackle the issue of Marine Litter and select those that could be implemented in MPAs, considering particularly the ecosystem services. The selection of measures will result in the development of MPA-specific action plans for implementation in a future project. Those plans will be complemented by a realistic and operational governance plan at transnational level. MPA stakeholders and key experts on marine litter value chain will be involved through the process to validate the outputs together. The action plans will have a strong focus on preventive measures, using circular economy and sustainable consumption and production approaches. The issue of Marine Litter is global but MPAs are directly affected by its increasing amount, restraining highly the achievement of the conservation goals.

Keywords:;marine litter, marine protected areas, action plan, governance, preventive measures, circular economy, sustainable consumption, natural conservation.

Led by:Catalan Waste Agency - Regional Activity Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), Spain

Project manager: Magali Outters and Ignasi Mateo, SCP/RAC

Communication officer: Thomais Vlachogianni, MIO-ECSDE

Duration:18 months



Actions for Marine Protected Areas

AMARE aims at reinforcing the management and networking of marine protected areas (MPAs) to maintain their biodiversity and natural ecosystems. It targets a more integrated management of the maritime space, considering MPAs can be an efficient tool to achieve Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) goals. The development of shared methodologies and geospatial tools will foster the resilience of the Mediterranean MPA network, as well as concrete MSP applications in selected MPAs. The improvement of the information exchange among MPAs will be done by best practice dissemination; it will enable common solutions to enhance management strategies and governance mechanisms.

Keywords: Maritime spatial Planning (MSP), Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), methodologies, geospatial tools, environmental monitoring, best practices, data access, ecosystem-based approach, Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Led by: National Inter-University Consortium for Marine Sciences (CONISMA), Italy

Project manager: Simonetta Fraschetti, University of Salento, Italy

Communication officer: Federica Foglini, CNR, Italy

Duration: 36 months 



Connectivity among Mediterranean fishery stakeholders and scientists resolves connectivity of fishery populations

ConFish aims at delivering a framework to promote knowledge transfer and capacity building between local fishermen and scientists, in order to improve the exploitation, conservation and management of Mediterranean fisheries, through a bottom-up approach including evolutionary tools. Critical fishing areas for protection will also be identified, in relation with scientific advice and local culture.

Keywords: Sustainability, fisheries, network, sociologists, fisher-men, scientists, management, connectivity, adaptation, capacity building, knowledge transfer.

Led by: Faculty of science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Project manager: Anamaria Stambuk, Faculté des Sciences, University of Zagreb

Communication officer: Miguel Baltazar Soares, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Duration:18 months



Ecological sustainable governance of Marine Protected Areas

EcoSUSTAIN represents joint transnational action towards maintenance of biodiversity and natural ecosystems by means of stronger management and networking of protected areas obtained through capacity building, innovative technologies and improved management knowledge base. The overall objective of the action is to improve monitoring, management and networking of protected areas through supporting scientific, technical and management knowledge in order to tackle the problem of incoherent and segregated management of protected areas as self-sustained units, which is believed to hamper protection and promotion of Mediterranean natural resources, as well as maintenance of biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Management and networking of protected areas will be improved by capacity building activities and pilot implementation of innovative water quality monitoring solutions in several protected wetland locations across the programme area.

Keywords: Stronger management and networking of protected areas, capacity building, innovative technologies, improved management knowledge base, Pilot implementation of innovative water quality monitoring solutions, protected wetland locations, use of state-of-the-art ICT technology, long-term monitoring.

Led by: University of Rijeka, Faculty of Maritime studies, Croatia

Project manager: Sasa Milanovic, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Maritime Studies

Communication officer: Ada Lipovaca, Una Development Agency

Duration: 30 months



Fishing governance in MPAs: potentialities for Blue Economy

FishMPABlue 2 is the follow-up of FishMPABlue 2007-2013 project: as the first one carried out the analysis of the management of small scale fishery within and around an MPA, identifying the suitable change (enforcing MPA management capacities) to be achieved through a concrete response (innovative governance toolkit), as current proposal wants to test such toolkit to actually demonstrate its effectiveness in achieving expected results (strengthening the management and networking capa-cities of Med MPAs).

Keywords: marine conservation, fishing governance, Blue economy.

Led by: Federparchi – Europarc Italy - The Italian Federation of Parks and Nature Reserves

Project officer: Luca Santarossa, Federparchi

Communication officer: Anne Rémy, WWF Mediterranean

Duration: 36 months 



Developing Mediterranean-specific protocols to protect biodiversity from litter impact at basin and local MPAs scales

MEDSEALITTER addresses the issue of marine litter, a global threat for living marine organisms. The problem particularly affects fishes, cetaceans and marine turtles, animals in whose digestive tracts commonly appear accidentally-swallowed micro and macro plastic debris. Although many Mediterranean organisations are working on this issue, there are no widely-accepted protocols to assess pollution by marine litter. For this reason, the project proposes to network representative MPAs, scientific organizations and environmental NGOs for developing, testing and delivering efficient, easy to apply and cost-effective protocols to monitor and manage litter impact on biodiversity.

Keywords: marine litter, protocols, pollution assessment, monitoring, impact management, biodiversity, network, marine protected areas, scientific organizations, NGOs.

Led by: Cinque Terre National Park and Marine Protected Area, Italy

Project manager: Patrizio Scarpellini, Cinque Terre National Park and Marine Protected Area

Communication officer: Simone Nuglio, Legambiente Onlus

Duration: 33 months 



Guiding Mediterranean MPAs through the climate change era: Building resilience and adaptation

MPA-Adapt is aiming to develop collaborative and site-specific adaptation plans for the MPAs that enhance resilience to Climate Change impacts. This will be achieved by building capacity for effective management, assessing risks; and exploring potential actions and priorities needed to ensure the adaptability and the resilience of biodiversity and the local communities. It also aims to incorporate Climate Change vulnerability assessments and nature-based adaptation planning into their existing management framework, and provide guidance to MPA managers and local stakeholders to implement and test climate change approaches. This project is a first of its kind for the marine and coastal Mediterranean environment and will also foster networks by improving the dialogue and coordination between MPA managers and scientists to create the first line of Mediterranean MPA sentinel sites.

Keywords: adaptation plans for MPAs, climate change, building capacity, assessing risks, adaptability, resilience, biodiversity, local communities, vulnerability assessments, MPA managers, local stakeholders, Mediterranean MPA sentinel sites.

Led by: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain

Project manager: Joaquim Garrabou, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Communication officer: Maria del Mar Otero, IUCN

Duration: 30 months



Sustainable management of the systems Posidonia-beaches in the Mediterranean region

POSBEMED aims at tackling the lack of public awareness of the benefits of Posidonia oceanica meadows natural capital and replies to a strong need for strengthening PA management capacity with adequate guidelines on how to effectively manage them. Several local studies and EU projects have evaluated the ecosystem services that Posidonia and its structures, called banquettes, offer, and developed tools for the management of banquettes and new ways to use them. By integrating these results and providing a transnational overview of the management practices and the perceptions of stakeholders across Mediterranean, POSBEMED aims to define a transnational joint management strategy for Posidonia beach/dune systems. It also aims to offer common sustainable tools for local administrators and PA managers and develop a strategic model of integrated governance, linking blue local growth to the conservation of this natural asset and enhancing the integrated management of these coastal habitats (meadows-beaches-foredunes) within PAs.

Keywords: seagrass Posidonia oceanica, tourism, leaf debris, seedbank, coastal / dune resilience, tools for local administration, integrated governance, integrated management, nature conservation.

Led by: Entente Interdépartementale de Démoustication Méditerranée (EID), France

Project manager: Maria Eugenia Giunta, EID

Communication officer: Biljana Aljinovik, IUCN

Duration: 18 months 



Blue Economy and Marine Conservation

PHAROS4MPAS project will deliver a regional integrated framework for recommendations on the necessary practical collaboration between Mediterranean MPAs and the maritime sectors. Approach and outputs include delivering common capitalization baselines, recommendations and policy tools adapted to the MedPAN network, MSP authorities, the European Commission, the Barcelona Convention and the various maritime sectors. The development of Blue Economy and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) represents a transitional challenge for marine protected areas (MPAs). Maritime sectors have started to operate more and more frequently inside and in the vicinity on MPAs with expected growing environmental impacts, while at the same time, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive requieres to reach a Good Environmental Status of the European Seas by 2020.

Keywords: Marine Protected Areas, good ecological status, blue economy, maritime spatial planning, coastal management and maritime issues of natural ressources. 

Led by: WWF, France

Project manager: Catherine Piante, WWF France

Communication officer: Anne Rémy, WWF Med

Duration: 18 months 



Coordinated management and networking of Mediterranean wetlands

WETNET tackles the issue of implementing multilevel governance for Mediterranean wetlands in order to achieve overall and network effects on wetland ecosystems as well as on connected local systems. The project aims at ensuring higher coordination between different levels of spatial planning and authorities in charge of their management, whilst limiting conflicts between conservation issues and economic activities. By defining common priorities Mediterranean wetland conservation, WETNET builds a common territorial strategy for their integrated management. Building on previous EU experiences (River Contracts), WETNET seeks to test and transfer ‘Wetland Contracts’, acting through broad participatory processes where users, private and public entities are committed in mainstreaming wetlands preservation into their ordinary activities.

Keywords: Wetlands preservation, governance, integrated management.

Led by: Veneto region, Italy

Project manager: Claudio Perin, Veneto Region and Giancarlo Gusmaroli, CIRF

Communication officer: Alicia Sánchez-Valverde, Sociedad Aragonesa de Gestión Agroambiental (SARGA)

Duration: 30 months