Researchers, scientists and international networks have gathered in Barcelona to discuss Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean and have emphasised the climate emergency facing the region.

The ‘Marine Protected Areas in the climate change era: challenges & opportunities’ conference, which took place at the Barcelona Maritime Museum, 4-5 June, was a capitalisation event of the Interreg Med MPA-Adapt project and had as its purpose to augment the role of Marine Protected Areas as a means of adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change on ecosystems.

The aim of the conference was to promote dialogue between the principal stakeholders working on the issue, including the managers of Marine Protected areas, scientists and policy-makers. MedCities moderated the panel ‘Sharing and Transferring Climate Change Data for Marine Protected Areas’, which brought together expertise from collaborative data gathering and monitoring initiatives in Mediterranean marine ecosystems.

Among the prominent threads of discussion at the event was the belief that the Mediterranean region is no longer merely facing the effects of climate change, but rather a full-scale climate emergency. Participants emphasised that to address the crisis facing Mediterranean ecosystems, it is an urgent necessity to reinforce and amplify collaboration at all levels and between all sectors. A further point of emphasis was the need to engage local actors and practise a participatory and adaptive management of Marine Protected Areas.

MedCities is a partner in the Interreg Med Horizontal Project PANACeA, which aims to maintain biodiversity and natural ecosystems by strengthening the management and networking of protected areas. Among the key outputs of PANACeA is the biodiversity knowledge platform, which can be accessed here.