Setting the path across and beyond the MED Biodiversity Protection Community

The MED Biodiversity Protection Community featured by the Horizontal Project PANACeA has moved forward in the identification of priority policy targets and interlocutors for the next two years.


More than nine biodiversity protection projects and members of other MED Horizontal projects attended an internal workshop hosted by MedCities and supported by PANACeA Advisory Board on 24 October 2017 in Barcelona. They were organized in three working groups to explore options for transferring their work to other geographical contexts and to a political dimension for further impact. In brief, the following topics were addressed during the event:


1.      Marine litter and climate change challenges by the MED working group on Protected Area Management, led by ETC-UMA and REC Montenegro with the support of IUCN WCPA.


Among the activities carried out to date concerning this group such as the MED Webinar on Marine Litter, worth mentioning is the participation of the MED Biodiversity Protection Community represented by ETC-UMA as lead partner and AMAre, Act4Litter and MedSealitter partners in the UNEP MAP Mediterranean Pollution Assessment and Control Programme (MED POL) Regional Cooperation Platform second meeting held in Barcelona on 9-10 November 2017, with contributions towards their Joint Action Plan 2018.


Furthermore, ETC-UMA and RAED have led the organization of a workshop on “Addressing marine litter in the Mediterranean using an ecosystem-based approach: focus on governance within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and beyond” during the 1st Union for the Mediterranean Regional Stakeholder Conference on the Blue Economy, with more than 100 participants. Presentations from projects and institutions active on both shores of the Mediterranean as well as the workshop conclusions can be accessed here.


Our MED Biodiversity Protection projects Act4Litter and MedSeaLitter are actively moving forward in their actions to tackle marine litter in the Mediterranean. If you want to join the Marine Litter Watch Month campaign, click here, if you want to follow MedSeaLitter latest news, read it online. Also, bear in mind the training workshops organized by MPA-ADAPT to assist protected area managers to assess their vulnerability to climate change and build their adaptation plans.


2.      Small-scale fishery management by the MED working group on sustainable use of natural resources , led by CPMR and UNIMED with the support of CPMR.


Under the general principle of co-responsibility and co-management, participatory governance models are being promoted in particular by MED projects WETNET on river and wetland contracts, FISHMPABLUE2 in marine protected areas and CONFISH on connecting fishing communities and stocks. The new collaboration with the EU Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET) as new Advisory Member to the MED Biodiversity Protection Community featured by PANACeA will certainly enrich the approach to a more sustainable governance model for fisheries. 


Among recent networking opportunities, to be noted is that participants in the 41st session of the FAO General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) had the chance to learn about the MED PANACeA project on Biodiversity Protection during a side event organised by the Regional Environmental Centre (REC Montenegro) on 16 October 2017 in Budva, Montenegro. The meeting helped share challenges and experiences related to sustainable management practices for small-scale fisheries in protected areas of the Mediterranean region, with discussion of specific cases from the Balkan region and the Adriatic Sea. This work will be followed up during the next event to be organized in Montenegro in spring and the coordination of the MED Biodiversity Protection Community to the Fish Forum 2018 to take place next December.


3.      Holistic approach to biodiversity policies and protection by the working group on integrated ecosystem monitoring and management, led by UNEP MAP Plan Bleu and MedCities with the support of UNEP MAP PAP RAC.


In order to foster a global and regional approach towards biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean, the MED Biodiversity Protection Community will present during the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention (COP 20) in Tirana, Albania from 17-20 December 2017.


The project ECOSUSTAIN for innovation in water quality monitoring at regional level will be meeting next in May 2018 to move forward in their activities. The project POSBEMED has finalised surveys on Mediterranean beach users, tourist operators and beach managers in Spain, Cyprus, Greece, France and Italy. The collected information is providing a better understanding of perceptions and preferences of these groups with regards to the presence of Posidonia banquettes forming on the beaches, along with input on current management practices in coastal municipalities.


The holistic approach to Mediterranean biodiversity conservation is also being promoted through the participation in various meetings by the EU Maritime Spatial Planning platform, in Malta in June, in Brussels in October 2017 and in Venice in January 2018. The multiple-user and stakeholder needs are being explored for MSP with the aim to push biodiversity protection higher up the agenda and the work under way by AMAre  being undertaken on a local scale for marine protected areas. Moreover, work on wetland monitoring and governance will be featured during the coming Ramsar COP (Conference of the Parties) Europe preparatory meeting on 19-23 March 2018.


The integration of the main findings by the MED Community and other key projects will be the basis for the contribution to the coming State of Environment and Development (SOED) in the Mediterranean report in 2019 and the MED Biodiversity Protection Knowledge Platform under development.


As a result of the Barcelona MED Community Building workshop, a two-year Action Plan to address key policies and management for better biodiversity protection is being finalised and will be published shortly.