The protection of the Mediterranean in the COP15
IUCN has recently participated in the recent meeting held in Almeria, and is very pleased with the progress made at this Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention. Through several projects related to Marine Protected Areas, marine biodiversity and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean, the Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation is currently working to achieve an improvement in the management of natural resources in the region, through projects for the development of a comprehensive and representative network of the marine protected areas and the elaboration of red lists of species threatened with extinction, among others.
Today, less than 0.5% of the Mediterranean Sea is under some kind of protection, which is 4% if the Pelagos sanctuary is included, in contrast with the objectives set by the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) set at 10% by 2012.
Margarita Astrálaga, Director of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, said: “We must congratulate governments for the efforts they have made so far to fulfil the objectives of Johannesburg to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010, although we are still far from achieving our goal”. The new Integrated Coastal Zone Management protocol of the Barcelona Convention, signed on January 21st in Madrid, is a new legal instrument at regional level, which includes the protection of the first 100 m of the Mediterranean coast - almost 46,000 km in total - as a measure to help combat climate change and other risks for the shores resulting from their governance and policies.
In this framework, it is important to highlight the 1st Conference of the Mediterranean Protected Areas Network, held last October in Port-Cros National Park. This meeting gathered 110 experts in collaboration with IUCN, WWF, the Regional Activity Centre for Special Protected Areas, the network of Mediterranean marine protected area managers – MedPAN, the Port-Cros National Park and the ACCOBAMS agreement (1).
The Declaration of Almeria emerging from this meeting amongst Mediterranean ministries and organisations, should give a new impetus to all stakeholders and partners in the region, encouraging its implementation as soon as possible. The Declaration of Almería also establishes the need to promote the use of renewable energies and includes an analysis of the impact and risks of activities such as carbon dioxide issues in Mediterranean submarine geological structures. It also urges member countries to take effective measures to adapt to the effects of the predictable increase of sea levels and other impacts from global warming.
IUCN continues cooperating with the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention and the regional centres, especially on issues related to marine protected areas and the conservation of biodiversity, the assessment of ecosystem goods and services, the evaluation of biological biodiversity and red listing, the promotion of the use of sustainable energy and adaptation to climate change in the Mediterranean.
Mediterranean countries have agreed to hold the next Meeting of the Contracting Parties in Marrakech in 2009.
For further information:
(1) Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area