Many initiatives were undertaken by international and national organisations to help Mediterranean countries develop MPAs and improve their management, based on the measures and recommendations issued under the above international agreements.

The proposed actions include studies and field surveys to identify marine areas of conservation interest, assistance (scientific, technical and legal) and capacity building and awareness raising actions as well as networking initiatives aimed at promoting exchanges of experiences and lessons learned.

However, despite the efforts deployed and an existing network of MPA managers, the Mediterranean's network of MPAs is still suffering from significant weaknesses , in particular the lack of coherence and representativeness, as well as inadequate management in a number of existing MPAs. This observation shows that even if a group of individual sites exists, it is not yet a network. In addition, the difficulties in the past to achieve the internationally defined objectives must lead us to develop new intervention methods and revise each and everyone's policies (manager, national authorities, institutions, donors, NGOs, researchers, ...).


Valuable opportunities which could help to improve the Mediterranean network of MPAs are the following:

  • the SAP/BIO   ongoing revision process within the Barcelona Convention's framework 
  • applying the Ecosystem Approach under the Barcelona Convention, 
  • Implementing international agreements for the open sea associated to its biodiversity.
  • the remaining steps for implementing the MSFD, Natura 2000 at sea, the new CFP by EU Member States,
  • the follow-up action of the Rio+20 Conference and meetings of the Parties to the CBD, including the main commitments expressed at the conference ("The Future we want").
  • following the Roadmap for 2020

Furthermore, the momentum generated by the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 should be maintained and regularly reinforced to help Mediterranean countries achieve the Aichi targets and in particular Target 11 : 

The prospect of achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity in the Mediterranean on time will only be possible if the national authorities, NGOs, scientific research organisations, national agencies responsible for MPAs, MPA managers, local communities, private sector stakeholders (fishing, tourism, etc..) as well as donors, not only renew and reinforce their commitment to this strategy, but also develop synergies and make economies by working together in a more collaborative and significant way.



Improving the state of the Mediterranean MPA network requires that the following challenges be met:

  • Make the current system of MPAs in the Mediterranean more ecologically representative and coherent in terms of its vindication, its geographical coverage and particularly the connectivity between MPAs. 
  • Increase human and technical resources (exchange of experiences, tools, methods, ...) linked to the management of MPAs.
  • Increase financial resources and mechanisms linked to biodiversity and MPAs.
  • Manage effectively and efficiently existing MPAs in the Mediterranean.
  • Strengthen the synergies between all stakeholders on a local, national and international level. 
  • Integrate governance and legal-institutional frameworks in order to clarify action plans and ensure the sustainability of measures and MPAs.
  • Enhance the MPAs laboratory and innovative role (technical, social, governance).
  • Ensure the sustainability and efficiency of a MPA managers' network.
  • Contribute to a sustainable management of Mediterranean resources.
  • Develop activities to inform and educate on the MPAs environment, marine biodiversity and the interaction with sea users.