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Mediterranean Wetlands and MPAs governance's best practices: MEDSEA workshop

On January 18, 2022, was held online the webinar on governance models for the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) organized within the project TUNE UP Interreg MED- Promoting multilevel governance for tuning up biodiversity protection in marine areas. 

The aim of the meeting was to present the results obtained during the TUNE UP activities, while promoting its methodology and ensuring better conservation of the Mediterranean MPAs biodiversity and their sustainable management. The webinar has also been an excellent occasion to create a space for exchange of knowledge with the other projects of the Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community (MBPC), finding synergies to define an integrated strategy for the conservation of biodiversity at the regional level. 

The workshop was organized by MEDSEA and MedWet Initiative, with the support of Plan Bleu representing the MBPC.  

After the initial greetings, the first session of the workshop begin, moderated by Piera Pala (environmental lawyer of the MEDSEA foundation) and followed by the speeches of Christos Papantos, representing the leading partner Anatoliki, who introduced and briefly summarized the TUNE UP project, and Serena Muccitelli (researcher at the Department of Architecture, Roma Tre University). 

As highlighted by the speakers, the TuneUp project gathers the results obtained in the INTERREG Wetnet project and aims to transfer the lessons learned on the governance of wetlands to the sea, and in particular to the marine protected areas of the Mediterranean, applying the innovative tool of the Environmental Contract. TuneUp guides the adoption of a multilevel management system, based on collaboration between different stakeholders and focused on the effective management of ten different MPAs. The initiative involves 12 partners from seven countries (Spain, France, Slovenia, Italy, Montenegro, Albania and Greece). 

The WetNet conservation strategies have been transmitted to social categories that intensely experience the marine protected areas. These have adapted the new paradigm to the specificity of their community and environmental context, using it for the drafting of a Declaration of Intent that envisions the care and development of the MPA in the immediate future. In the Gulf of Oristano, one of the ten pilot sites, the Youth Council of Cabras became the vanguard of the integrated governance. Cabras id an ancient center overlooking the unique biodiversity heritage of the Sinis-Peninsula di Mal di Ventre Island Marine Protected Area 

The description of TuneUp was followed then by the speeches of Flavio Monti, biologist and manager of the technical and scientific network of MedWet, and Pauline Malterre, biologist and policy officer of MedWet, who presented the results achieved and the future scenarios of the project. Giancarlo Gusmaroli, environmental engineer and river contract expert for MEDSEA, led the next phase of the workshop, built as a space for the exchange of knowledge with other MBPC projects. 

Dania Abdul Malak (MBPC Community) spoke and described some of the areas on which the work of the MBPC focuses and underlined the effectiveness of the dissemination of best practices; Joaquim Garrabou (Spanish National Research Council | CSIC · Institute of Marine Sciences) illustrated the results of the MPA Engage project and highlighted the importance of the participatory approach to adaptation and mitigation of climate change in the Mediterranean Sea; Samanta Makovac (Strunjan National Park) described the MPA NETWORKS project. Fundamental, in defining the dynamism that affects the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas, the interventions of Loredana Mulas (delegate of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia) with the POSBMED 2 project, Simonetta Fraschetti (University of Naples Federico II) representing the AMAre + project and Antonio di Franco (Anton Dohrn Zoological Station, Sicily Marine Center) with the FishMPABlue 2'experience project. 

The workshop highlighted the need to reinforce the MPAs network and insist on the participatory process, practices both necessary to be more effective in the communication processes that lead to the implementation of the integrated governance paradigm. Synergy, in short: not only within each individual MPA through dialogue and cooperation between all the stakeholders involved, but in perspective between all the marine protected areas, so that they become a community in constant dialogue along the vast setting of the Mediterranean shores, beacons of environmental conservation and of a new balance between human activities and nature. 

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