A new practical tool to evaluate Marine Protected Areas management in the Mediterranean

03 July 2013 | News story

According to a recent survey conducted by the MedPAN Association over 80 Mediterranean marine protected areas (MPA) more than half of them did not yet have a management plan for the sites and 75% of the Natura 2000 sites (in EU countries) still did not have a management body. In order to reinforce the effectiveness of Mediterranean marine protected areas and to achieve a more unified approach, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation and WWF-Italy have worked in close collaboration with MPA managers to create an inclusive yet synthetic tool to assess MPA management.

The result is the “Guide for quick evaluation of management in Mediterranean MPAs”, which consists of 18 indicators assessing all dimensions of MPA management, from management approaches to the final outcomes in terms of biodiversity conservation, stakeholder participation, governance and socio-economic impacts. This evaluation tool is meant to encourage adaptive management by pointing out the areas in which actions are most needed and allowing year-to-year comparisons. Some managers have already started to use it in their own MPA.

In the Mediterranean 675 marine protected areas (MPAs) have been created in the last decades and to this day, there were no common tools to evaluate the management of each MPA. This guide is an unprecedented monitoring tool for the network of MPAs in the Mediterranean as it is the first ever Mediterranean-level approach.

Widespread implementation of this evaluation will help pursue the goal of improving the effectiveness of Mediterranean MPAs, contribute to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas and support a more unified approach to producing the reports required for national, European, regional and global purposes”, comments Dan Lafoley, Principal Advisor on Marine Science and Conservation for IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme.

"Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an essential for a "quality Mediterranean", but they must also be of quality: MPAs must be well managed and the effectiveness of their management must be measurable. Tools such as this guide are the best way to get it, spreading viable and functional management models to balance the protection of marine ecosystems and the sustainable use of the sea", says Marco Costantini, head of WWF Italy's Marine Programme, which in recent months has engaged in a summer campaign "For a quality Mediterranean".

Developed under the framework of the Programme Med- European Regional Development funded project, MedPAN North, together with the financial assistance of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the MAVA Foundation, the new IUCN and WWF publication in three languages (English, French and Italian) offers a good rapid evaluation to assess and highlight the challenges of marine protected areas.

For further info: Mar Otero