Large attendance at MPA NETWORKS project kick-off meeting

Launch of the new project on Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) bringing together MedPAN and nine other partners. Objective: to improve the effectiveness of MPAs.

The kick-off of the MPA NETWORKS project took place on 4 February in Marseille. Representatives of the 10 project partners and several associated partners and other organisations (such as the Pelagos Sanctuary, the Israeli Authority for Nature and Parks or the MAVA Foundation) took part in an afternoon of active discussions on the activities of the project and the synergies that can be promoted in the Mediterranean.

Project partners and associates will work together to build networks of MPA managers to contribute to the effectiveness of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas.

The issues will be addressed through the implementation of the MPA network in the Mediterranean at national, sub-regional and Mediterranean level, i.e. by creating moments of exchange of best practices, training centres to share methodologies and monitoring protocols, working tables with experts to leverage on important issues in biodiversity protection.

Several activities will be carried out sequentially or simultaneously. Nine pilot projects in 7 countries will be designed and implemented to address the challenges described above. Methodologies from previous projects (Programme Med and others) will be selected and tested in the field. Best practices will be shared within the Mediterranean MPA community. These experiences will also feed into a permanent training programme on the recently developed themes that will be further integrated with the MPA NETWORKS project. Specific networking activities among MPAs will also be organised for direct peer support. At a broader level, regional, national or supranational networks of MPA managers will be supported to build strong alliances of sites sharing similar characteristics or pressures. And finally, the combined forces of these networks will create a coordinated voice for MPAs with shared recommendations to support MPA policy at international, European and national levels.

One of the objectives of the project is to strengthen the MedPAN network (better governance, communication and funding plan secured), support supranational networks to bring a specific dynamic to the territories and respond to local challenges. One of these will be the creation of the AdriONPAN Network and its main communication systems with a focus on the website.

The network will be improved through mutual support; the connection between the networks will be created to ensure dynamic communication at all levels.

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