ETC-UMA spreads cooperation within and across boundaries

The past months have witnessed a very active agenda for the European Topic Centre on Spatial Analysis and Synthesis (ETC-UMA) to assist in the coordination of international efforts towards transboundary conservation and more effective protection of the Mediterranean biodiversity and its ecosystems.

ETC-UMA partnered with several organisations to support the organisation of the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Forum (MPA Forum) held in Monaco from 28 November to 1 December 2021. And through the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (MBPC) initiative, ETC-UMA with its project partners coordinated the contributions of 6 projects co-funded by the Interreg Med programme to showcase their wide variety of contributions to the Marine protected areas Roadmap for implementation by 2030. Coordinated by ETC-UMA, key recommendations for actions, indicators and partnerships were proposed by MBPC partners concerning Policy and Governance; Management and Knowledge; Financing; and Cross-cutting issues affecting Mediterranean marine protected areas. In particular, the following MPA Forum sessions featured the active participation of key partners in the MBPC to assist the finalization of the Roadmap, including ETC-UMA on topics related to climate change adaptation, socio-economic benefits, obstacles for an effective implementation of marine protected areas and fostering a better access to capacity building mechanisms towards effective conservation. Furthermore, the MBPC partners got actively engaged in the celebration of the first two marine protected areas in Montenegro and the signature of a collaboration framework agreement with the Pelagos Sanctuary Secretariat to support its Management and Action Plans.

To close this international gathering of institutions and partners engaged in Mediterranean protection, ETC-UMA Director was invited to present concrete commitments to help implement the Roadmap, which will focus on supporting territorial actions at national level in Montenegro; at transnational level in the Pelagos Sanctuary between France, Monaco and Italy; and at Mediterranean level through the promotion of various participatory process for a more effective protection and management of natural resources.

The discussions during the MPA Forum are being transferred in Turkey to all Mediterranean countries these days. As new partner to the UN Environment Programme of the Mediterranean Action Plan for the Mediterranean (UNEP MAP), ETC-UMA Director attended the 22nd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (COP 22) on 7-10 December 2021 in Antalya, Turkey. The meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its protocols, held every two years, constitute the principal gathering on environment and sustainable development in the region. To mainstream the work developed to date by ETC-UMA, Ms Dania Abdul Malak addressed the Ministerial delegation to expose the need to work with nature to address societal challenges, using natural and modified ecosystems as Nature Based Solutions that should be treated as integral to adaptation strategies aiming to ensure sustainable answers to Mediterranean challenges like overexploitation, Climate Change, and Biodiversity Loss. On 9 December 2021, ETC-UMAs’ intervention called for Mediterranean decision-makers, NGOs, the private sector and individuals to act together against the ongoing degradation of natural ecosystems, mismanagement of natural resources and the habitat loss jeopardizing the sustainable development and socio-ecological resilience of the Mediterranean at large. Understanding nature and investing in protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural ecosystems, need to triple in the coming years through complementary commitments and concrete and joint actions on the ground.

Moreover, the MBPC initiative is being promoted during the MedCOP22 through a side event proposed by UNEP MAP Plan Bleu RAC as MBPC partner and led by ETC-UMA 9 December 2021 in collaboration with the Ministry of Montenegro and the UNEP MAP Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (SPA-RAC) on partnerships for biodiversity protection, where actions and next steps  towards a more effective protection of the Southern Adriatic and the Pelagos Sanctuary for large cetaceans will be highlighted for 2022.

To see more about ETC-UMA’s presence @ MPA-Forum and the Barcelona COP22: