Story | 22 Feb, 2022

New initiative to expand and strengthen the network of marine protected areas in Libya launched last week

IUCN-Med, SPA/RAC and WWF will work in close collaboration with the Libyan Ministry of the Environment to help develop a robust network of marine protected areas. During last week’s kick-off event, Dr. Ibrahim Al-Arabi Mounir, Minister of Environment, welcomed the project as a key step to establish a legal framework for MPAs and to develop management plans for three sites (El Kouf, Farwa and Ain Al Ghazala). This will be one of the seven projects led by UNEP/MAP (Barcelona Convention Secretariat) and funded by the Global Environment Facility as a part of the Med Programme initiative.

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Photo: UICN

Potential designation of 30 sites as protected areas

Civil society organisations, research institutions and local authorities joined the active discussion during the official project launch in Tripoli on 16 February. The new project, “Supporting management and expansion of Marine Protected Areas in Libya”, seeks to enhance protection of marine biodiversity by developing a national governance structure, alongside with new on-site management units, sustainable management plans, monitoring programmes and networks.

Recently the Libyan Ministry of Environment has announced a plan to designate thirty new protected areas - a list which includes wetlands, marine and coastal sites as well as biosphere reserves. This new project will support the implementation of several sites currently being considered for MPA designation.

The IUCN Green List Standard for Protected and Conserved Areas will provide the basis framework for the development of the governance and management structures for the targeted MPAs. 

A call for urgent action regarding certain candidate sites was raised by several Libyan civil society organisations at the launch event. In parallel to this meeting, the Government of Libya also approved two National Plans on Exotic Species and the Protection of Sea Turtles.



The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation will lead the works to record the marine and coastal sites of key conservation interest, building on the knowledge of several sources, as for example, the 2012 publication “Towards a Representative Network of Marine Protected Areas in Libya”.

Moreover, IUCN will coordinate the monitoring efforts, while working with WWF North Africa to develop a participatory platform aiming to involve civil society organisations with particular emphasis on gender stakeholders.

With the aim of advancing MPAs in Libya towards a phase of operational sufficiency, the project will focus on building the capacity of MPA practitioners. Through the Protected Areas Green List programme, IUCN-Med will provide continuous support to the three targeted MPAs to improve the planning, management and governance components in order to reach tangible conservation outcomes.

For further enquiries, please contact Maher Mahjoub.