Funding Agency: Interreg Mediterranean programm
Period: November 2019- June 2022 (32 months)
PI: Joaquim Garrabou (CSIC-Institute of Marine Science)
Research Team: 15 Partners, from 8 Countries: 6 EU-Med (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Malta) together with Albania, and Belgium

MPA-Engage stands for Engaging Mediterranean key actors in Ecosystem Approach to manage Marine Protected Areas to face Climate change, and is a network project funded by Interreg Mediterranean programm, and coordinated by Dr. Joaquim Garrabou at the Institute of Marine Science (CSIC) in Barcelona. Elena Ojea from Future Oceans Lab, expert in climate change adaptation in socio-ecological systems will be contributing to the project leading the tasks on vulnerability assessment to develop Marine Protect Area (MPA) adaptation plans.

The Mediterranean is being impacted by climate change, and is seriously threatening the coastal ecosystems and the services that they provide to our societies. Therefore, it is necessary to tackle these impacts in order to get a sustainable management of coastal ecosystems.  The MPAs has been found to be important in preserving, and enhancing the resilience of the biodiversity of the Mediterranean seas, however there is a lack of specific adaptation plans to climate change in most of the MPAs. MPA-Engage project is developed to face climate change effects and create specific adaptation plans.

The overall objective of MPA-Engage is to support and promote the role of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as nature-based solutions for the implementation of Ecosystem Approach to the adaptation and mitigation to ongoing climate change effects.

By strengthening the management, networking the MPAs and promoting a Mediterranean Policy Dialogue among the stakeholders, the work will contribute to sustain marine ecosystems. Seven MPAs along the Mediterranean including Brijuni, Portofino, Calanque, Zakynthos, Karaburuni, Catalunya and Tavolara Punta Coda Cavallo were chosen to carry out the MPA-ENGAGE project. The project builds on the success of the MPA-Adapt project, that you can visit here.

The specific objectives of the work are:

– To improve the knowledge on marine ecosystems and their inter-linkages with human activities to face the impact of climate change.

– To foster the implementation and development of standardized tools for monitoring schemes, to elaborate vulnerability assessments and define adaptation plans in Mediterranean MPAs and small-scale and recreational fishery sectors.

– To promote stakeholder engagement through participatory approaches (including Marine Citizen Science) to enhance the effectiveness of MPAs as nature-based solutions to adapt and mitigate Climate Change effects.

– To mainstream developed/upgraded policies for Climate Change adaptation in the Mediterranean Sea