Gathered at the Iberostar Cristina hotel for the 11th General Assembly and the annual experience-sharing workshop, over 100 Mediterraneans of the MedPAN network attended the festivities that aimed to celebrate the engagement of members, partners, donors and other stakeholders in the network.
Puri Canals, MedPAN Chairwoman, first unveiled a large poster gathering close to 350 friendly faces of the network and then went on to recall where MedPAN comes from and what was achieved in the last 10 years (download Puri’s presentation). At the end of her short speech, she took her jacket off and revealed the long awaited MedPAN T-shirt (members or partners who did not get theirs, please let MedPAN secretariat know!)
This first general assembly of 2008 was actually the rebirth of a network that was created in 1990. Despite alternating between active and dormant periods until 2005, the value of a Mediterranean network of MPA managers has always been celebrated. The strong engagement of Port-Cros national Park first and WWF France next, laid the foundations for the future success of MedPAN.
Between 2005 and 2007, WWF France coordinated a MedPAN European Interreg project gathering 23 partners. These partners found the network so useful that they requested a permanent structure to run it with dedicated funds. In 2008, the MedPAN association was created under French law * with 9 founding members: Kornati National Park,Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, City of Agde – MPA of the Agathoise Coast (ADENA founding member),Port-Cros National Park,WWF France foundation, Zakynthos National Park(founding member),WWF Italy – Miramare Marine Reserve,Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, WWF Turkey.A secretariat was formed. The first employee, Marie Romani, Executive Secretary, was hired in December 2009 and the second, Magali Mabari, Communications Officer, followed shortly after in January 2010. The secretariat was hosted in Hyères thanks to Port-Cros national Park.
Between 2009 and 2018 the network has grown tremendously in terms of size (it now gather 116 members and partners from 19 countries), in terms of budget (average of 1 million euros per year), in terms of influence and in terms of tools made available to MPA managers to improve management efficiency.
This success can be attributed to the members and partners that show great engagement to work together, to the dynamic secretariat based in Marseille, to the over committed board of directors, to the strategic partners from all over the Mediterranean. And of course to the support of visonnary donors that have placed their trust in the network since the beginninng; to name just a few : the MAVA foundation, the FFEM, the Prince Albert II of Monaco foundation, the EU…
It’s true : we are “Stronger together in the Mediterranean”
*In fact a MedPAN association was created in 1999 but it only allowed individuals to be part of the association not organisations. So in 2008, the old association was dissoluted and a new one was created.