Within the framework of “Science Policy Society interactions in ecosystem based marine resources management and planning” the Interreg MED Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (MBPC) of which MedCities is partner, organised an introductive webinar to the short training course -that will have the same title- to be held next March in Venice. The online webinar and the upcoming course are organized in cooperation with the BlueMed initiative and the IOC-UNESCO MSP Global.

Dania Abdul Malak (ETC-UMA Director and Biodiversity Protection Community -MBPC- leader from Interreg Med program) first introduced the ecosystem-based management and the MBPC, underlining all interactions between biodiversity and human activities and well-being. She highlighted the critical warning by science of the escalating impacts on ecological systems and the consequences of these changes on human. Also, she said: “Biodiversity is everywhere and interacts with everything and human well being depends on it as we’re all part of it and ecosystems have many functions: they provide water, food and also economical values, but they need to be healthy”.

Then, Alejandro Iglesias Campos (IOC-UNESCO MSP Global) made his presentation on marine spatial planning (MSP), giving the participants historical data and highlighting the importance of a konwledge-based approach for sustainable blue growth

From his side, Andrea Barbanti, from ISMAR CNR, continued on the same topic, insisting on the necessity to constantly add and update knowledge, and on the important link between MSP and the development of marine protected areas (MPAs): “We cannot plan what we don’t know but knowledge cannot be excuse for not to plan. Then, what kind of knowledge is needed for effective MSP?” This will be one of the focuses of our upcoming course in Venice in March 2021. 

The presentation of Jean-Baptiste Jouffray (Stockholm University) was based on complex marine socio-ecological systems, focusing on the impacted biosphere which is necessary to human activities and societies, and which should be included in (if not at the base of) every social, cultural and economic processes. 

This leads to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and cooperation, of which Christopher Cvitanovic (transdisciplinary marine scientist) made a more in-depth presentation, mentioning their benefits and present difficulties. With its fresh presentation he underlined: “There are important changes needed on scientist typology for an interdisciplinary socioecological science; scientists need to be enabled to work across disciplines and knowledge systems as well as facilitators between marine science and policy and practice”.

Several Q&A sessions were organised to let the participants ask for precisions or further information to all speakers, but also to answer their questions about the training course to come in Venice. 

This webinar was above all a good opportunity to observe the same desire shared by many motivated actors, and thus to be confident for the future of common initiatives to protect the Mediterranean biodiversity. 58 participants, including speakers, attended the webinar coordinated by the Marine Institute of Croatia and the University of Malaga (ETC-UMA) with an active participation of MedCities, as communication leader from MBPC.