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Marine Protected Areas together for the future of the Mediterranean

Final combined event for MPA-Engage and MPA-Networks

13/06/2022 -

From June 14 to 17 June, one hundred scientists and managers of 13 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and 18 European countries will meet in Spain to share the results of the two European Interreg Med projects: MPA NETWORKS and MPA Engage.

The objective of this final event is to discuss the key results and recommendations of these two European projects focused on key issues for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): management effectiveness, small-scale fisheries management, conservation of mobile species, sustainable financing and adaptation to climate change. Participants will contribute to expanding the solutions identified in the projects and voicing key recommendations for decision-makers for the benefit of the entire community of Mediterranean MPAs.

Both projects had a priority focus on the Marine Protected Areas of the Mediterranean and are inspired by the concept of network as a key element to improve the management of the MPAs themselves, catalyze and scale up marine conservation efforts. Sharing of experiences, strengthening of skills and the capitalization of knowledge are the main goals of this international meeting.

The synergies between the MPA Networks and MPA Engage projects, both financed by the Interreg MED Program, therefore translate into the capitalization of the results in the entire Mediterranean area, with managers of Marine Protected Areas, scientists, public authorities and stakeholders who will meet to present the results obtained, sharing experiences in view strengthen the role of MPAs to face the biodiversity loss and climatic crisis. An unprecedented opportunity for dialogue and mutual enrichment of knowledge, that will lead to the identification of priority policy recommendations, solutions and good practices to be discussed at different technical and policy scales, from the local, to the national, Mediterranean and European one, strengthening and hopefully extending the network of Mediterranean MPAs and resilience or marine and coastal ecosystems.

The meeting will take place alternating technical and policy sessions in a hybrid format, online and in-person in three locations: Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Roses. During the event, different tools will be presented for monitoring and managing current environmental problems, such as the invasion of alien species, the increasing incidence of phenomena of mass mortality, the management of small-scale fishing, the conservation of mobile species such as sea turtles and dolphins. The meeting will take into consideration financing mechanisms and discuss the ecological and socio-economic vulnerability of these areas.

This series of events is very timely happening just before the Union for the MEditerraean (UfM) Blue Finance conference and the UN Ocean Conference.



“Together we are stronger. The mobilization of all relevant actors is necessary to meet the challenges of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean. The MPA NETWORKS and MPA Engage projects have been key to capitalizing on and initiating new actions in this direction. The joint events in Palma and Barcelona will be important to share solutions and identify priorities and ways forward.”

~ Marie Romani, coordinator of MPA Networks project and Executive secretary of MedPAN

“We can consider Marine Protected Areas as privileged sites to monitor the state of marine environment and to support global efforts toward the conservation of biodiversity. Marine Protected Areas are also ideal sites for promoting a necessary economic, social and cultural transition that can lead us towards a better future and a healthier and more sustainable relationship with the marine environment. ”

~  Ernesto Azzurro, senior researcher at IRBIM-CNR, Ancona and scientific responsible of the project MPA Engage for the Stazione Zoologica Anthon Dohrn of Naples.

“The Mediterranean, in addition to being a biodiversity hotspot, is one of the regions most affected by climate change. In fact, the Mediterranean Sea is warming three times faster than the average ocean. Battling the climate crisis, marine protected areas can play an essential role. However, these areas urgently need to integrate the climate change dimension into their management plans. The MPA Engage project has focused on providing managers with effective tools to put the network of marine protected areas at the forefront of the climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy.”

~ Joaquim Garrabou, coordinator of MPA Engage project and researcher at the Institut de Ciències del Mar del CSIC.

“This project allowed us to test a new methodology for understanding the vulnerability of Marine Protected Areas to Climate Change in the Mediterranean. Managers can use this tool to identify the most vulnerable species and uses of the protected areas and design adaptation plans accordingly”

~  Elena Ojea, senior researcher at the Future Oceans Lab, CIM-Universidade de Vigo (Spain).

Marine protected areas in the Mediterranean are highly vulnerable to climate change. But we have identified their key vulnerabilities so that management can adapt and MPAs can be at the forefront of adaptation. “

~  Elena Ojea, senior researcher at the Future Oceans Lab, CIM-Universidade de Vigo (Spain).


More information

About the MPA NETWORKS project: MPA NETWORKS promotes the dynamics of cooperation between MPA managers at all levels in the Mediterranean. The MPA NETWORKS project has focused on providing sustainable solutions to challenges that require an approach that goes beyond the boundaries of MPAs. These challenges include the global issue 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. The project has also helped to strengthen networks of MPA managers at national, sub-regional, and Mediterranean levels and to ensure capacity building and scaling up of good solutions and policy recommendations. More information about the MPANETWORKS project  –

About the MPA Engage project: MPA Engage, led by the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, is financed by the Interreg MED programme with a budget of around €3 million. MPA Engage had the main objective of supporting Mediterranean MPAs to adapt to and mitigate the effects of ongoing climate change in the Mediterranean Sea. Using a participatory approach, MPA Engage harmonized monitoring of climate change impacts, prepared vulnerability assessments, and developed climate change adaptation action plans in eight marine protected areas located in six Mediterranean countries. More information about the MPAENGAGE project –



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