A new initiative will soon be launched to improve the management of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. The "Build Back A Blue and Stronger Mediterranean" project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The “Build Back A Blue and Stronger Mediterranean” project will be launched on 28 October 2022 in Montenegro. This initiative aims to improve the management of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Mediterranean Sea, with the support of MedFund, the environmental fund for Mediterranean MPAs, and MedPAN, the network of Mediterranean MPA managers. The initiative is also supported by Conservation International.
The project will benefit several countries with MPAs in the Mediterranean, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Montenegro, Lebanon and Albania. In these countries, funding will be provided to 20 nationally designated MPAs, covering an area of almost 220,000 hectares. In addition to funding, the project also focuses on training and capacity building in MPA management.
The Build Back A Blue and Stronger Mediterranean initiative will be implemented with $5.45 million in funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). “By strengthening the effectiveness of Mediterranean MPAs, this project will provide a major boost to help restore and protect fisheries resources and support the resilience of marine ecosystems for the benefit of local populations with increased income from sustainable fisheries and the development of ecotourism,” says the Washington-based financial institution.
This initiative should contribute to the protection of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean. Although this body of water linking Africa, Europe and the Middle East accounts for only 1% of the world’s ocean surface, the Mediterranean is home to about 10% of the marine species known today. But this rich biodiversity is under increasing pressure from human activity.
It is precisely to avoid the decline of this biodiversity that the states located around this sea have created 1 062 marine protected areas. But in April 2020, a research team led by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) showed that 95% of the surface area of these areas lacked sufficient regulations to reduce human impacts on biodiversity. This is compounded by a lack of funding that undermines conservation efforts.
Jean Marie Takouleu