The Alboran Sea is the most western part of the Mediterranean sea. It is situated in the centre of the geological region, the Gibraltar Arc, and as it is the gateway to the Mediterranean and the point of contact between Africa and Europe, it is a very unique maritime area.
The Alboran Sea is considered to be an area of great geopolitical, strategic and scientific importance. Besides, given the importance of its ecosystems and biodiversity, it is the dynamic motor for the biodiversity of the western Mediterranean. For these reasons, the Alboran Sea is an area which deserves to be protected and well managed. The responsibility for its conservation falls upon all peoples surrounding the area, which itself is an enclave of great ecological, demographic and economic importance that forms the basis for their development.
Algeria, Spain and Morocco have started to work, in collaboration with IUCN, for the protection of the Alboran Sea, thus making progress in Mediterranean transnational cooperation. In 2007, representatives from the 3 countries, coming from research institutions, universities, governments and NGOs, gathered for the 1st International Meeting for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Alboran Sea, which was held in Malaga (Spain) from 28 to 30 November. The meeting was organized jointly by IUCN and the National Institute of Fisheries Research (INRH), with support from the Department of Environment and Territorial Planning of the Provincial Council of Malaga and the Development Agency for East Morocco.
During this meeting, in addition to identifying problems and solutions at regional level, priorities for improving the management and governance of the Alboran region were also identified, and a process for exchanging information was set up between all actors and stakeholders in the area. All in all, it laid down the basis for a specific strategy and created the conditions for establishing a shared management of the Alboran Sea in the future. Since then, coordinated work between all parties has allowed these objectives to progress.
In April 2009 the 2nd International Meeting for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Alboran Sea was held in Oujda (Morocco). At this second meeting, which more than 100 experts and representatives from various institutions and NGOs from Spain, Morocco and Algeria attended, it was agreed that an Action Plan be drawn up for the Alboran region based on the document: “Oujda Declaration on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Alboran Sea”.
This second meeting has helped to strengthen the process of exchanging information between all the actors and stakeholders in the area, examine the problems and solutions at regional level in greater depth, and identify priorities for improving the management and governance of the Alboran region. These elements will serve as the basis for the next phase that includes a series of activities over the coming years.