On 6 and 7 May, around 80 Mediterranean environmental actors came together at the Orto Botanico in Rome to discuss ecosystem-based responses to Mediterranean biodiversity challenges.

Transferring the lessons learnt by a Biodiversity Protection Community of 12 projects, the event expanded previous debates with policy stakeholders and research institutions by integrating the need to involve the private sector and establish effective public-private partnerships.

The Biodiversity Protection Community – coordinated by the Interreg Med Horizontal project PANACeA of which MedCities is a partner – is developing technical tools and guidance to support the management of Protected Areas while, at the same time working to consider innovative solutions for preserving the ecological sensitivity and significance of key ecosystems across the Mediterranean. The event yielded various recommendations for policy and practices to promote an ecosystem-based approach to addressing transboundary impacts and land-sea interactions for effective biodiversity protection.

Measures for monitoring and tackling marine litter, ways to improve dialogue with the fishing community and the role of seagrass meadows in combating coastal erosion were also discussed by actors from various Mediterranean countries.

The aim of the debates was to foster multi-sectoral and multi-level cooperation, develop mutual understanding and raise the ecological sensitivity of all actors concerned. Methodologies for the engagement of stakeholders in legislative processes, the use of participatory approaches to sustain small-scale fisheries, and the implementation of marine protected area management were among the best practices showcased.

Efficiently linking multi-level and multi-sectoral actors to key environmental information can improve and facilitate the integration of an ecosystem-based approach in decision-making.  Such is the aim of this Interreg MED biodiversity protection initiative which is acting as a hub and providing, through its biodiversity protection knowledge platform, concrete, tangible examples and data to all those interested in a more coherent and integrated protection and management of our natural resources and the people that depend on them. 

Agendas and presentations from the event can be downloaded here.