Building synergies towards biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean

Invited by the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Topic Centre – University of Malaga presented the Interreg Med project PANACeA encompassing a community of eleven projects tackling biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean during the 9th  Horizon 2020 Steering Committee meeting and the Task Force on Environment and Climate Change held on 29 and 30 January 2018 in Jordan, supported by the EU DG ENV and DG NEAR.

Conceived as a collaborative forum among European and Mediterranean countries, the project PANACeA introduced the work under development regarding in this case marine litter and pollution in the region, with initiatives such as ACT4Litter, MedSeaLitter and the newly launched project Plastic Busters-MPA, a continuation of the UfM flagship project Plastic Busters.  In this framework, the ecosystem based approach and the need to use adequate environmental information and criteria was highlighted, with a particular emphasis on the achievements of the Med-IAMER project on cumulative impacts in the region, and the need to use Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) as criteria for the identification of priority areas for investments and action. The PANACeA presentation is available here.

The participation in key regional instruments is one of the priorities of the Interreg Med Biodiversity Protection Community, as it aims to identify and build synergies to effectively bridge the gaps between Mediterranean biodiversity protection science, management and policy among countries and institutions with similar objectives. The two-day gathering pointed towards clear synergies with the European Environment Agency, UNEP MAP and other key actors which will be followed up for the implementation of common actions and the transfer of relevant information among participants.

Similarly, with the objective of joining forces and ensure a better coordination of efforts, ETC-UMA contributed to the Maritime Spatial Planning – MSP Platform Cumulative Impact Tools Expert Roundtable held on 18 January 2018 in Venice, Italy to facilitate an exchange between existing and emerging initiatives working on cumulative impact tools that can be used in maritime spatial planning and associated processes (e.g. strategic environmental assessments). Currently, there are several different initiatives in various European sea-basins investigating how cumulative impact (or effect) assessments can be conducted and then used during analytical steps in an MSP process. These initiatives are at various stages of development, with some more advanced than others. This roundtable provided an opportunity for tool/assessment approach developers to learn from one another on methods and experiences, and discuss how the tools can be applied in Member State MSP processes.

Finally, ETC-UMA is attending the Steering Committee meeting of Act4Litter, 13th-14th February in Barcelona, to move forward action plans and joint activities. Details on other coming meetings towards integrating efforts for Biodiversity Protection in the region can be accessed here.