MedCities and ETC-UMA with the support of the Ministry of Ecological Transition of Spain (MITECO) brought together over 40 key national actors to explore synergies with state initiatives and uptake the results of INTERREG MED Biodiversity Protection Community projects.

Periodic and practical face-to-face exchanges are needed to assure coordination of research and management efforts to protect biodiversity at various levels. This was the general feeling after a very encouraging working session held on 4 July 2019 in Madrid, hosted by MITECO.

The interactive workshop aimed to foster collaboration and synergies among the projects featured by the Spanish representatives in 9 out of 12 of the projects in the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (BPC) led by PANACeA and a wide representation of public actors in charge of implementing biodiversity protection related policies in Spain.  Biodiversity related policy frameworks and practical experiences were highlighted to stimulate dialogue, synergies, collaboration and the uptake of projects’ achievements by government programmes.

The meeting, organised by PANACeA partners ETC-UMA and MedCities, was opened by the Sub Director for the Protection of the Sea of MITECO and the Spanish Focal Point of the Interreg MED Programme. The Interreg Med governance platform PANORAMED was introduced by the Spanish Ministry of Finance. The joint achievements of the BPC including the Biodiversity Protection Knowledge Platform were highlighted, with a focus on the final “Ecosystem-based approaches for Biodiversity protection and management” Declaration, presenting a common vision by key partners in the Mediterranean which is currently challenging further support among institutions and individuals.

Exchanges and questions were articulated around three themes, namely,

• the monitoring programmes of the Spanish Marine Strategies to assess the Good Environmental Status (GES) and the monitoring tools and protocols developed and/or enhanced by projects like MPA-Adapt, ECOSUSTAIN and MEDSEALITTER;
• the governance and management of protected areas (MPAs) including the LIFE IP INTEMARES project led by the Fundación Biodiversidad of MITECO and the participatory experiences of ACT4LITTER, WETNET and FISHMPABLUE2; and
• the challenges of maritime spatial planning (MSP) and the blue growth agenda including the results of projects like SIMWESTMED y SIMNORAT presented by CEDEX and IEO and the BPC projects AMARE and PHAROS4MPA.

The meeting evidenced interesting opportunities for new collaborations and concluded with a consensus on the importance to keep this very focused and targeted type of exchanges during the whole life cycle of the BPC, including its next phase which will run until June 2022.

A brief resume and all the presentations can be found here.

See the photo gallery of the event here.

PANACeA aims at streamlining networking and management efforts in Mediterranean Protected Areas (PAs) as a mechanism to enhance nature conservation and protection in the region. MedCities is a partner of PANACeA, a horizontal project co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Med Programme.