Guiding Mediterranean MPAs through the climate change era: building resilience and adaptation – MPA-ADAPT


The Mediterranean Sea climate will undergo rapid changes over the next decades. Direct evidence of climate change is already being observed in the Mediterranean coast and in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The need to understand and work towards building resilience for both coastal communities and marine biodiversity, through adaptive management, have become an essential element for mitigation against and adaptation to the rapid changes to maintain and protect healthy ecosystems in the MPAs. Unfortunately, climate change is not explicitly incorporated in most management plans and information to assist MPAs decision making is limited and fragmented.

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation into Mediterranean MPAs contributes to the efforts being made across the region to improve adaption to change in the coastal zones.

Main objective
MPA-ADAPT’s goals are to develop collaborative and site-specific adaptation plans for MPAs that enhance their resilience to climate change impacts. This will be achieved through capacity building workshops for an effective management, development of risk assessments and an investigation of the potential actions and priorities needed to ensure the adaptability and the resilience of biodiversity and local communities, including fishermen and other stakeholders.

It also aims to incorporate climate change vulnerability assessments and nature-based adaptation planning into their existing management frameworks, and provide guidance to MPAs managers and local stakeholders to implement and test climate change adaptation approaches.

Specific objectives

1.      To raise awareness of the role of effective MPAs for enhancing resilience to Climate change and safeguarding ecosystem services as well as contributing to adaptation measures.

2.      To strengthen capacity of MPAs to plan for and respond to climate change impacts based on a better understanding of climate risk and vulnerability.

3.      To showcase how climate change can be integrated into planning and management of Mediterranean MPAs.

IUCN’s role
IUCN-Med will coordinate the overall work on pilot activities to enhance the dialogue and monitoring between different research initiatives, local communities and MPAs; to develop vulnerability assessments that will assist building a better adaptation management programme and contribute to long term data monitoring schemes.

Furthermore, it will work to create a comprehensive communication and dissemination plan for setting goals and aims for the general communication of the project as well as to define how to reach different target groups and key messages and ensure a wide Mediterranean impact.

Also, efforts will be focus on developing materials on MPAs values and risks together with the creation of online MPAs climate change e-platform in collaboration with the associated and project partners as a repository of materials, tools, lessons learnt, data and reports from the project and experiences from elsewhere in the Mediterranean. This will ensure the wider and lasting use of project results and the different tools.

This project is led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and involves seven other partners from the Mediterranean basin: the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, Public Institution Brijuni National Park (Croatia), Marine Protected Area Pelagie Islands – Management Body Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa (Italy), Consortium of Management of Portofino MPA (Italy), National Park of Port-Cros (France), and the Corsican Agency for Environment (France).

As Associate partners: the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), Mediterranean protected areas network (MedPAN), Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, Food and Environment, the City of San Benedetto del Tronto, the Regional Natural Park of Corsica (France), and the University of Malta.

1,904,257.06 € (85% co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund)

MAVA foundation (15% from the IUCN-Med contribution)

From November 2016 until May 2019

Interreg - Mediterranean programme

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