When they are effectively managed, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the most effective tools for the conservation of marine biodiversity. But to perform, Mediterranean MPAs need more human capacity, skills and financial resources. Over the years, MPA practionners have come to realise that working together would help address some of the challenges they face and MPA managers networks such as MedPAN have emerged and developed. The MPA NETWORKS project intends to boost this dynamics with the strengthening of MPA managers networks at all levels in the Mediterranean. The expected result? MPAs are empowered to serve their purpose and deliver the results that will benefit nature and sustain our livelihoods.
The MPA NETWORKS project will focus on providing sustainable solutions to challenges requiring an approach that goes beyond MPA boundaries. These challenges include the global question of management effectiveness, and more specifically the management of Small Scale Fisheries in MPAs, the conservation of mobile species and the development of sustainable financing mechanisms for MPAs.
Several types of activities will be led from November 2019 to April 2022 with a cross-cutting approach to use and apply methodologies and tools developed during previous projects (Programme Med and others). This scaling up will be supported by networks of actors sharing the same interests at different levels (thematic groups, national or supra-national alliances, Mediterranean cooperation):
- Nine pilot projects in 7 countries will be designed and implemented to address aspects of the challenges described above.
- Lessons learned and tools to support management will be shared among the Mediterranean community of MPA managers.
- These experiences will also feed a permanent Mediterranean training programme that was recently developed and that will be further matured in relations to the themes of the MPA NETWORKS project.
- Specific networking activities between MPAs will as well be organised for direct peer-to peer support.
- On a wider level, national or supranational networks of MPA Managers will be supported to build strong alliances of sites sharing similar challenges.
- To build synergies, cooperation between networks will also be set-up, in the Mediterranean and beyond.
- The 3rd edition of the Mediterranean MPA Forum will be organised in 2020. This process, that takes place every 4 years, will craft the post 2020 roadmap for MPA efficiency.
- An experience sharing workshop for MPA managers will also be organised in 2021 to explore the challenges of management effectiveness.
- And finally, the joined forces of these networks will give rise to a coordinated MPA voice with shared recommendations to support pro-MPA policy-making at international, Mediterranean and national levels.
The MPA NETWORKS projects has a budget of around 2.7 million euros and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund in the framework of Interreg Med programme of the European Union. It is led by MedPAN and gathers 9 other partners in France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia, Albania and Spain.