There are 52 protected areas participating in the Interreg Biodiversity Protection Community of projects. They constitute the real scenario where pioneer activities to preserve Mediterranean biodiversity and ecosystems along with the services they provide are taking place. Though these are mainly coastal and marine areas, wetlands are a key component in this community as vital ecosystems providing essential services to humans and biodiversity including water purification and nesting habitat for a wide range of fauna and flora. 

The involvement of protected areas in the various countries where the current 9 biodiversity protection projects are taking place ranges from the testing of new governance methodologies for a sustainable use of wetlands and cooperation structures with traditional fishermen to pilot research for the development of common monitoring protocols for marine litter and training workshops to assist protected area managers in biodiversity protection.  Others are involved as associated partners and play somehow a different role, keen to learn from and disseminate best practices from the initiatives carried out by their peers.

To mainstream the management efforts carried out by the Interreg MED Community of protected areas, PANACeA has started establishing links among these key actors by identifying those areas where several initiatives are taking place and fostering the transferability of results within the Interreg Med network and beyond. For this, a working group on the Management of Protected Areas has been established to facilitate coordination, encourage exchanges and promote the multiplication of sites benefitting from the activities and work under way by the different projects.

Here you can find a map illustrating the presence of Interreg MED sites in the projects approved to date. Some of them have already hosted meetings to exchange best practices and raise awareness on the challenges ahead. Among the activities developed so far by the projects involved in the Protected Area Management group:

ACT4LITTER is looking at prioritizing measures to reduce marine litter. A conference at the end of November will take place in Slovenia and they are planning to promote their work through the MedPAN regional workshop on marine protected areas (MPAs) facing pollution in the Med. The AMAre project is liaising with ACT4Litter to address marine litter in MPAs. The AMAre project is actively involved on Governance of MPAs and is working on shared methodologies and geospatial tools for multiple stressors assessment, coordinated environmental monitoring, multi-criteria analyses and stakeholders’ engagements with Torre Guaceto leading in transferring best practices. Sporades islands in Greece has been the second MPA hosting an AMAre meeting on 26-28 June 2017.

The EcoSustain project for an ecological and sustainable governance of Mediterranean protected areas via improved Scientific, Technical and Managerial Knowledge Base has finished the Status quo report of the five national parks for the identification of monitoring actions, management and financing mechanisms including a list of parameters to monitor water quality. The second partner meeting of EcoSUSTAIN was held on 29 and 30 May 2017 organized by the Development Agency of the Una-Sana Canton (RAUSK) and the Una National Park Una in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

MedSeaLitter is on the other hand working towards a common monitoring protocol on marine litter at Mediterranean and local MPA level, whereas MPA-ADAPT has held a capacity building workshop on adaptation to climate change in Mediterranean MPAs in Bonifacio (Corsica, France) on June 13-15 2017, with representatives of MPAs from France, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Malta to allow for experience and information exchange in smaller regional groups, meet local stakeholders such as divers and fishermen, and become familiar with the hosting MPA, the Strait of Bonifacio Nature Reserve. By defining the already existing and the future climate change-related effects for each MPA and the potential measures to reduce them on a local scale, the participants were able to develop preliminary drafts of adaptation plans for their MPAs. The next training is planned for October 2017 and will deal with climate change vulnerability assessments of habitats, species and ecosystem services.   

The WETNET project has nominated the nine pilot areas to implement a governance contract for wetlands in 6 different countries. By defining common priorities for MED wetlands conservation, WETNET builds a common territorial strategy for their integrated management. WETNET seeks to test and transfer ‘Wetlands Contracts’ where participatory processes involving users, private and public entities, commit to conservation as a priority. The project partnership involves all authorities and typology of stakeholders. A meeting was held on 12 and 13 June 2017 in Slovenia including a training session on wetland contracts based on the French and Italian experience.

The group will sit again to debate on strengthening the management and networking efforts for biodiversity protection among Mediterranean protected areas in our next PANACeA event in Barcelona.

SAVE THE DATE - Barcelona, 23, 24 and 25 October 2017 - Bridging science and practice to protect the Mediterranean

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