December 14, 2023
MEDASSET, a partner of the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan—Barcelona Convention (UNEP / MAP), attended the 23rd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, at Portorož Slovenia, 5-8 December 2023.
MEDASSET is committed to the Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) 2022-2027 vision: “Progress towards a healthy, clean, sustainable and climate resilient Mediterranean sea and coast with productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal ecosystems, where the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s are achieved through the effective implementation of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols and the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development for the benefit of people and nature.”
In this context, MEDASSET, a member of the consortium of the recently launched LIFE project – LIFE MareNatura, made an official statement. Specifically, Nadia Andreanidou, Programmes and Policy Officer at MEDASSET stated:
“In the context of COP23 agenda and specifically regarding the point 3.4 Draft Decision: Amendments to Annexes II and III to the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean, we are honored to share with you that MEDASSET is part of a recently launched LIFE project, titled “Conservation of priority species of marine megafauna in Greece and Italy and in short LIFE MareNatura”. It is the largest LIFE Project in Greece, Co-funded by the Programme for the Environment and Climate Action of the European Union.
The project is implemented by leading marine research institutions and universities in collaboration with NGOs and global partners as well as Greece’s Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency and with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Energy.
Over a period of six years, the project aims to identify marine biodiversity hotspots, especially offshore marine areas, to propose new marine Natura 2000 sites and proceed with their official designation as protected areas, before the end of 2029. As such, this project will contribute to the 30×30 EU and global biodiversity 2030 targets. The project will also contribute to Greece’s recently adopted national legally binding target for the designation of 30% of its marine areas as protected.
The project will also provide the means for the mitigation of threats affecting nine (9) of the most threatened EU priority species of seabirds, marine turtles and marine mammals. Namely, these species are the Mediterranean Monk Seal, the Loggerhead Turtle, the Green Turtle, the Sperm Whale, the Harbour Porpoise, the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, the Common Dolphin, the Yelkouan Shearwater and the Audouin’s Gull, though the application of state of the art technologies and methodologies.
So far, the majority of the conservation efforts have targeted the breeding areas of these species and thus their offshore habitats (feeding grounds, congregation sites and migration corridors) remained to a large degree unexplored. We are gathering data for the first time at national level and hence we can note that as an official UNEP MAP Partner, we will regularly report on implementation progress and share lessons learned which could be of value to all Parties aiming to meet the 2030-biodiversity targets.