Press release | 19 Apr, 2009

An agreement regarding the future of the Alboran Sea

The 2nd International Meeting on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Alboran Sea which was held in the city of Oujda (Morocco) from 16-18 April, has ended with the “Oujda Declaration on the conservation and sustainable development of the Alboran Sea”; a document that will enable a strategy to be drawn up for carrying out pilot actions in the coming years.

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Photo: UICN-Med

Oujda, Morocco, 19 April 2009. This meeting, which was organised jointly by IUCN and the National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH, Morocco), with support from the Department of Environment and Territorial Planning of the Provincial Council of Malaga and the Development Agency for East Morocco, over the 3 days, gathered more than 200 experts and representatives from various institutions and NGOs from Spain, Morocco and Algeria. During the meeting, all necessary aspects for strengthening the movement which was created during the 1st Alboran Sea Meeting held in Malaga in 2007 were discussed. As a result, it has been agreed that an Action Plan is to be drawn up for the Alboran region based on the document: “OUJDA Declaration on the conservation and sustainable development of the AlboranSea”.

Amongst the key aspects, this declaration acknowledges the role of the AlboranSea as an environmental motor within the Mediterranean as a whole; the significant diversity and environmental wealth of the region; its vulnerability; the social and economic activities developing along its coasts; as well as the political, social and cultural diversity. Likewise, it highlights the need to ensure sustainable development and the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity. This must be conveyed by drawing up development projects respectful to the environment as these are exceptional opportunities for developing suitable and innovative ideas for the Alboran region. The document also considers the importance of education and raising awareness in issues regarding conservation. Additionally, it underlines the need to take into consideration the sub-regional, regional and international conventions and legislations relevant to the Alboran region.

The declaration ends with a series of recommendations, amongst which can be highlighted the implementation of a centralised information-exchange system,  including a series of indicators for it to be used in marine and coastal contexts, with a new ecosystem-based approach; strengthening existing protected areas and creating new protected areas; promoting the Algeria-Spain-Morocco cooperation, primarily by implementing multi-discipline working groups on uses, resources and the environment; and a comparative analysis of existing legislation relating to the conservation and sustainable development of the Alboran region. Recommendations include creating a technological and scientific marine biodiversity research centre for new-generation projects orientated towards conservation, education and raising awareness, and establishing the “Alboran Network for Sustainable Development” feeding an information system that could lead to the creation of an “Observatory for the conservation and sustainable development of the Alboran”.

In addition to the plenary sessions, during the meeting three simultaneous workshops were organised on: Sand exploitation and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM); Interactions between human activities, birds, turtles and marine mammals; and Marine protected areas and biodiversity. During these workshops, specific actions to be drawn up over the next three years were discussed and presented to the plenary for approval.

At the meeting various Spanish institutions and NGOs were present, amongst which include: the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs, the Regional Government of Andalusia (Junta de Andalucía), the Provincial Council, Malaga City Council, Malaga University, AECID, the Biodiversity Foundation (Fundación Biodiversidad), Ecologists in Action (Ecologistas en Acción), the UNESCO Chair of Environment, 'Aula del Mar' in Malaga, Oceana, and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography.

This “2nd International Meeting on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the AlboranSea” has helped to strengthen the process for exchanging information between all actors and stakeholders in the area; examine the problems and solutions at regional level in greater depth; and identify priorities for improving the management and governance of the Alboran region.