TUNE UP Final Conference: Main achievements and how to implement the results in the future

On June 9, TUNE UP project partners held the final conference of the project in Thessaloniki, Greece. The aim of this international event was to present the project results to an international level.

On June 9, TUNE UP project partners held the final conference of the project in Thessaloniki, Greece. The aim of this international event was to present the project results to an international level and strengthen the engagement of Local Environmental Contracts as tools for a more effective management for Marine Protected Areas as well as to present the Policy Recommendations for effective MPA Management as they were elaborated through the implementation of the TUNE UP project. This event gathered a broad range of stakeholders made of experts, representatives of institutions involved in environmental governance and biodiversity protection and members of the scientific community interested in Protected Areas from different parts of the Mediterranean. 

The Local Environmental Contracts were tested in 10 pilot Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean during the project implementation. From the Methodology of Environmental Contracts in Marine Protected Areas, territorial labs, the identification of governance and stakeholder engagement challenges, to Environmental Contracts procedures/design and integration at Regional Policy level, the main outputs of the project have shown the need for future cooperation on the environmental contracts, especially focusing on actions already identified during the process at both local and regional scale. 

Several common findings were identified and discussed by the project partnership. These elements below will be important for the next steps in the future: 

  • The engagement of as many stakeholders as possible including those not directly dependent on the marine environment and the improvement of the ability to maintain the interest of all stakeholders through the participatory process.
  • The need for proper integration of the Environmental Contracts in the legislative framework along with rigid regional cooperation with Mediterranean MPAs followed by exchange of know-how among Mediterranean MPAs administrators.
  • The importance of building trust which in turn is generated with closeness and transparency of work and results as well as constant communication with as many stakeholders as possible.
  • The significance of always keeping in mind that each MPA has its own peculiarities, therefore Memorandas and the integration process of its establishment allow to overcome institutional and legal competence conflicts.
  • The value of territorial labs as a process, especially on the local level, has proven to be a very successful tool for the presentation of the whole process, for experts to present the challenges the pilot area faces and the most important, enabling participants to speak and introduce their view of the area.
  • The value of investing in database of best practices as a self regulating mechanism of the participatory process by strengthening and expanding existing collaborating networks

The project keeps its close and fruitful cooperation with the horizontal project Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (MBPC) and the Interreg Med Community. In this context the following tools will be included in the updated edition of the MBPC tools catalogue:

  1. Environmental Contract in Marine Protected Areas
  2. Good practices database

Furthermore, many collaborations took place between the two projects such as the development of an e-learning course on “Marine Protected Area Contract: governance in action”, a Summer School, the organisation of webinars (on “Mediterranean Wetlands and MPAs Governance experiences”, “Healthy wetlands: our best natural answer to the biodiversity, water and climate crises”, “From policy to action with “environmental contracts”: a multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance tool for an effective governance of Mediterranean wetlands and MPAs”, technical factsheets, tool catalogues, best practices catalogues, videos and many more activities. These joint activities have enabled greater visibility of TUNE UP's results across regional, national and European networks of partners through the two Communities and the institutions that composed them. 

The Interreg Med project TUNE UP is a multi-objective project tackling the need for a strategic and collaborative approach to the management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the protection of biodiversity, by testing and utilising a multi-stakeholder governance tool based on River/Wetland Contracts experience tested by the Interreg Med WETNET project.