The need to increase protection for oceans is urgent, not only to fulfill international commitments, but to alleviate the increasing degradation of marine ecosystems. To this end, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Mediterranean Action Plan – United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-MAP) have organised, from 7-11 April in Malaga (Spain), a Mediterranean regional workshop to facilitate the description of ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs).
The workshop was inaugurated this morning by the UNEP/MAP Coordinator and Executive Secretary of the Barcelona Convention, Ms. Maria Luisa Silva Mejias, the General Secretary of Integrated Management of the Environment and Water from the regional Government of Andalusia, Carmen Lloret Miserach, and the Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre Prados.
The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation is supporting the organisation of the event in which more than 50 representatives of 20 governments in the Mediterranean, the European Commission and scientific experts from 14 international institutions will be present.
In preparation for the workshop, the Parties to the Convention have been invited to provide relevant scientific information to support the objectives of the workshop. A CBD repository on Mediterranean EBSAs has been prepared with the information provided by Mediterranean countries and invited institutions. IUCN-Med has also contributed information on other areas of interest to be considered as potential EBSAs. The documents submitted can be found at: http://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=5362
According to the CBD, the EBSA process facilitates collaboration between scientists and governments, enhancing the current knowledge on marine biodiversity in open-ocean and deep-sea habitats beyond national jurisdiction. It is also an important starting point for a future long-term continuous assessment as further scientific information becomes available. Furthermore, EBSAs are also a tool to support the creation of a network of marine protected areas, contributing to a more effective protection of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean.
Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas in the Mediterranean
In 2012, the Barcelona Convention COP17 (Conference of Parties) endorsed a preliminary EBSA Map, featuring 11 priority areas in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the CBD criteria.
At the 18th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, held in December 2013 in Istanbul, Contracting Parties adopted decision IG.21/5, “Identification and Conservation of sites of particular ecological interest in the Mediterranean”, which requested the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention/Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP), with the assistance of the Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas, to cooperate with the CBD Secretariat in organizing during 2014 a Mediterranean regional workshop on EBSAs.
The EBSA workshop in Málaga aims to improve and enlarge the identification and description of additional EBSAs in the Mediterranean.
For further info: Alain Jeudy