Representatives of European and Mediterranean institutions, public authorities, scientific and research organisations, protected area managers and conservationists gathered in Brussels on 4-5 December to support a holistic approach to enhancing and protecting Mediterranean biodiversity.

This two-day gathering was organised through the Interreg Med Biodiversity Protection Community. This community has been developed through the PANACeA project which involves the CPMR as a partner.

As part of the gathering, a Public Hearing was held on 5 December at the European Parliament on ‘Ecosystems in Danger: Enhancing EU Policy response’, in partnership with the SEArica Intergroup and the Interreg Med Biodiversity Protection Community.

Prominent among the discussions was the need for urgent action to ensure ecosystem connectivity and regulating socio-economic activities. There was also a call for science-based management in key ecologically significant areas suffering from uncontrolled human activities inside and outside protected areas.

Gesine MEISSNER, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the SEArica Intergroup, stated: “We need more resources of the sea, blue biotechnology, aquaculture, blue energy, shipping; on the other side, we need marine protected areas and we are having a delay in reaching the right percentage”.

She expressed her support for the hearing’s joint ‘Declaration on Ecosystem-based approaches for biodiversity protection and management’, which was also signed by the other MEPs who took part in the discussions: Marco Affronte, Davor Škrlec and Francesc Gambus.

Sergi TUDELA, of the Directorate-General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food Government of Catalonia, also presented the maritime strategy of Catalunya which incorporates co-management as an essential tool.

He stated: “Governance and cooperation are essential components in effectively addressing the challenges facing Mediterranean biodiversity”.

The public hearing presented the key messages of the 12 projects and other collaborators in the Med Biodiversity Protection Community, whose partners met on 4 December for a collaborative workshop to coordinate efforts and contribute to an active open dialogue with policy institutions in the Mediterranean.

The lively debate involved the European Commission’s DG Environment, DG Research, DG MARE, UNEP MAP and its Regional Activity Centres, and key project institutions active in environmental research, assessment and governance mechanisms towards biodiversity protection.

The discussions were summarised by PANACeA project coordinator, Dania Abdul Malak, ETC-UMA, who called for the adoption of the Declaration as a common roadmap for two types of processes envisaged in the Mediterranean: the enforcement of proper management of protected areas through network design and best practice management, and the use of an ecosystem approach addressing ecological sensitivity and transboundary impacts outside protected areas.

Mediterranean ecosystems are collapsing and new innovative approaches to managing these indispensable systems are urgently needed to halt the collapse, reduce decline in condition and allow for recovery and resilience.

As stated by Ameer Abdulla, IUCN WCPA: “Biodiversity and natural resources must now be better managed within and beyond protected area boundaries and across national borders. Maritime Spatial Planning, along with Integrated Wetland Management and Integrated Coastal Zone Management are essential tools to better manage biodiversity and human use in an ecosystem-based approach.”

The Declaration underlines the necessity for a long-term vision for the development of monitoring tools, harmonised methodologies, protocols and knowledge base for the successful implementation of EU directives and Mediterranean processes on the environment.

This includes the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EcAp process, which still lack the development of monitoring tools for their final implementation stages.

Acknowledging a shared vision in this joint Declaration, the meetings in Brussels fostered a stronger visibility and commitment by European and Mediterranean policy-makers, scientists, protected area managers and environmental actors to enter into a deeper and longer-term collaboration.

An ecosystem-based dialogue between science, policy and management involving socio-economic and co-responsibility schemes were recognised by participants as a prerequisite to better decision-making processes that ensure the long-term viability of our ecosystems and natural resources and our Mediterranean societies that depend on them.




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Lise Guennal

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Public Hearing EU Parliament- access to presentations – 5 December 2018

Enhancing EU policies with ecosystem based approaches – access to presentations – 4 December 2018


Sonsoles San Roman

Further information:

The objective of PANACeA is to streamline networking and management efforts in Mediterranean Protected Areas (PAs) as a mechanism to enhance nature conservation and protection in the region.

The project aims at ensuring synergies between relevant Mediterranean stakeholders – including managers, policy-makers, socio-economic actors, civil society and the scientific community –, and to increase the visibility and impacts of their projects’ results towards common identified strategical targets.

PANACeA builds a community of nature conservation stakeholders in the Mediterranean and acts as the Communication and Capitalisation instrument of the projects dealing with protection of biodiversity and natural ecosystems. Through its tool, the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Knowledge Platform, PANACeA ensures the transfer of synthesised projects’ outcomes and their dissemination across and beyond the region.

The main thematic focus areas include coastal and marine management, biodiversity monitoring, sustainable use of natural resources, management of protected areas, global changes, governance and cooperation and scientific and innovative methodologies., under the umbrella of a series of projects: ACT4LITTER (marine litter in marine protected areas) and additional projects to be included in the coming period, AMAre (marine spatial planning and PAs), CONFISH (network of fish stock recovery areas), ECOSUSTAIN (water quality monitoring solutions in protected wetlands), FishMPABlue2 (governance of artisanal fisheries in PAs), MEDSEALITTER (marine waste management), MPA-ADAPT (adaptation of MPAs to climate change), POSBEMED (strategy for joint management of Posidonia beaches and dunes), WETNET (wetland governance), PLASTIC BUSTERS MPAs (Marine Litter in MPAs) and PHAROS4MPAs (Blue Economy and Marine Conservation).