Funding Agency: Interreg Med
Period: January2024- March2027 (27months)
PI: Joaquim Garrabou (CSIC-Institut de Ciències del Mar)
Research Team: 9 partners from 7 countries: Spain, Italia, Croatia, Malta, German, Portugal and Cyprus)

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 the  EU Interreg-MED program, and coordinated by Dr. Joaquim Garrabou at the Institute of Marine Science (CSIC) in Barcelona. The Future Oceans Lab will contribute with our experience in climate change adaptation in socio-ecological systems , and will be leading the development of vulnerability assessments in the Mediterranean  Marine Protect Area (MPA).

The overall objective of the MPA-Engage project is to support and promote the role of Mediterranean MPAs as nature-based solutions for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions to confront climate change effects. The project will produce adaptation plans for the MPAs and will put the Mediterranean Sea at the forefront of marine conservation in the face of climate change.

Climate change is seriously threatening the coastal ecosystems and the services that they provide to our societies in the Mediterranean Sea. It is necessary to tackle these impacts in order to achieve sustainable management in the future. MPAs are important for preserving and enhancing socio-ecological resilience, however there is a lack of specific adaptation plans in most MPAs. MPA-Engage will help address the impacts of climate change and will create specific adaptation plans.

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, Calanques, Zakynthos, Karaburuni, Tavolara Punta Coda Cavallo and Cap de Creus are the pilot areas. The project builds on the success of the MPA-Adapt project, that ended in 2019.

The specific objectives of the project 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.
  • To mainstream developed and upgraded climate policies  in the Mediterranean Sea.

You can find more information on MPA-Engage website