MBPC e-learning program week 2: Learning how EBM and MSP can be useful to protect biodiversity in a cross-border context

This second module aimed to help learners understand the correlation between protecting our marine resources and a good EbM-MSP.

Our MBPC e-learning program on Ecosystem-based Management and Marine Spatial Planning endorsed by the IOC UNESCO UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, opened its second module on May 2. After the first module’s success, this second module provided a better understanding of the richness of the Mediterranean as well as the anthropic pressures and challenges it faces. Indeed, the Mediterranean Sea covers only 1% of the global ocean surface but it hosts 20% of global marine biodiversity. However, it is affected by intense urbanisation, maritime traffic, climate change, overfishing and other human-related activities.

The main objective for this week was therefore to accentuate the existing link between the current needs to protect biodiversity and the tools that are at our disposal such as EBM-MSP. The module was composed of a lesson (several pre-recorded videos, a case study, a podcast discussion, a quiz, additional readings), a live session in webinar format and a final test with ten questions. Chloë Webster, from Petra Maritima and tutor of the course, shared her knowledge regarding the different threats to biodiversity, reminding the importance of transboundary dimension as there are no borders in the Mediterranean Sea. She also mentioned the role of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) to implement EbM-MSP in order to tackle the threats to biodiversity.

Then, a very interesting video produced by ISPRA in the context of the MPA-Adapt project illustrated the need to raise awareness on the importance of citizen science, notably by including and valuing the knowledge and opinions of fishermen.

Ziad Samaha from the IUCN West Asia was also interviewed in a podcast to discuss the Lebanon case study. The country is facing a critical political situation and does not rely on a concrete MSP. He recalled that, when it comes to MSP, not all the countries have enough knowledge about biodiversity or threats, and some are unstable from a political and social point of view, making conservation efforts very difficult. To conclude the lesson, learners had to answer a short quiz. To do so, they were asked to watch a video from the Tune Up Interreg Project on the collaboration across borders to improve the governance of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas as well as reading the Panacea project (1st phase of MBPC 2016-2019) factsheet on biodiversity management protection.

On the 5th of May, the second live session was held, with a focus on “how Marine Spatial Planning must use Ecosystem Based management approaches to address marine litter and pollution”. Two keynote speakers took the floor and shared their experiences with learners: Dania Abdul Malak and Chloë Webster. During the webinar, the main focus was given to one of the main threats: Plastic. This material affects not only biodiversity, but also human health due to its abundance, durability, and persistence. Dania Abdul Malak shared nine key actions towards a cleaner Mediterranean, such as the need to improve marine litter data knowledge but above all, the importance to increase cross-border cooperation and cross sectoral collaboration to harmonise marine litter policies including EbM principles. As stated by the Director of UTC-UMA “We have more to learn about marine litter, but we ALL contribute to the marine litter problem in the Mediterranean; action is urgently required at all levels and by everyone ». Finally, Chloë Webster presented different projects fighting against plastic pollution and disrupting chemicals in the Mediterranean (Plastic Busters, Act4Litter, the Tara expedition…) and all the knowledge generated by them. It was followed by a Q&A session where speakers and learners interacted.

Our Module 3 opened on May 9 and the third and last live session is scheduled on Thursday 12 May from 16 to 17 CET on how participatory approaches promoted through EBM/MSP can contribute to the sustainable use of marine resources while ensuring biodiversity protection.

For more information, please contact Jordi Juarez.