Regionally, IUCN is supporting the development of a network of Mediterranean MPAs by:

  • Promoting representation of the eastern and southern countries along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and in underrepresented biomes such as the high seas
  • Supporting existing networks for exchanging information and for cooperation between the north and south of the Mediterranean Sea
  • Strengthening and developing new partnerships with major research groups and international agencies dealing with the science and governance of Mediterranean MPAs
  • Linking MPA managers with the Mediterranean members of the World Commission on Protected Areas 

Working towards the development of a Mediterranean network of MPA Managers (MedPan) requires a synergistic approach considering both the ecological and governance dimensions.

Ecological dimension
The Mediterranean needs a network of MPAs that is representative of the full complement of its habitats and critical areas. This would include coastal habitats, benthic and neritic, and offshore habitats, comprising pelagic waters, seamounts, canyons, deep-sea corals and other bathyal habitats, across national boundaries and beyond. Such a representative network would recognise the ecological links between widely separated areas, thus grouping individual protected areas into more functionally viable management entities.

The process of building a network of MPAs involves analysing the representation of MPAs at ecological and biogeographic levels, and defining appropriate methodologies for determining priority sites where new MPAs should be established.

Activities include:

Governance Aspect
Almost two-thirds of Mediterranean MPAs are located along the basin’s northern shore, highlighting the lack of MPAs in the southern and eastern coasts of the Mediterranean. One of IUCN-Med's key objectives is to enhance the representation of the environmental and cultural resources in the Mediterranean region. The main areas of work are:

  • Review of the barriers to establishing Marine Protected Areas in the southern and eastern Mediterranean: a scoping study. IUCN examined potential causal factors for this challenge which included identifying social, cultural, economic and political factors that might be important barriers at national level, and developing a method to quantify factors that might be important barriers at community level. The study included 16 countries, extending from Morocco in the west, to Israel and Lebanon in the Middle East, and north into the Balkans. Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean, was also included. The final report will be published soon.
  • Developing a criteria-based framework for selecting methods and indicators for the pre and post socioeconomic assessment of MPAs in North Africa. These criteria are designed to help integrate a critical socioeconomic dimension to currently managed MPAs, and technically facilitate the designation of future MPAs.
  • Developing socioeconomic guidelines for assessing resilience and dependency on resources in North Africa, and an MPA Toolkit that will be available in English, French and Arabic.