Coordination of initiatives and activities for the implementation of the SPA/BD Protocol:
- The implementation of scientific and technical research programmes as defined by the SPA/BD Protocol, with priority being given to scientific and technical research related to Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs) and the species appearing in Annexes II and III to the SPA/BD Protocol;
- The preparation of management plans for protected areas and species;
- The preparation of cooperation programmes in order to coordinate the creation, conservation, planning and management of specially protected areas, as well as the choice, management and conservation of protected species;
- The implementation of the tasks with which RAC/SPA is entrusted by the action plans adopted within the framework of the SPA/BD Protocol; and
- The preparation of educational materials designed for various groups.
In this context, RAC/SPA formulates recommendations for guidelines and common criteria for the selection of marine and coastal protected areas that could be included on the SPAMI List, common criteria for the inclusion of additional species in Annexes II and III to the SPA/BD Protocol, guidelines for the establishment and management of protected areas and any other technical tool relevant to the implementation of the SPA/BD Protocol.
RAC/SPA creates and updates:
- databases on Specially Protected Areas and protected species ;
- directories of Mediterranean specialists organizations in various fields covered by the SPA/BD Protocol ;
- bibliographic databases ; and
- databases on other matters of relevance to the Protocol.
It also prepares the reports and technical studies that may be required for the implementation of the SPA/BD Protocol.
Assistance to the Parties
Technical assistance provided by RAC/SPA to Contracting Parties aims in particular to help them:
- identify, establish and manage Specially Protected Areas, including the preparation of management plans for their marine parts, within the context of national, subregional and regional programmes;
- prepare and implement National Action Plans for the protection of endangered species and habitats;
- strengthen their capacities to deal with issues relating to the conservation and management of Mediterranean biodiversity; and
- exchange scientific and technical information concerning current and planned national research and monitoring programmes and the results thereof.
RAC/SPA draws up and implements training programmes, particularly regarding:
- public environmental education;
- the training of scientific, technical and managerial personnel;
- scientific research;
- the acquisition, utilization, design and development of appropriate equipment; and
- the transfer of technology on advantageous terms to be agreed among the Parties concerned.
Capacity building is carried out through training sessions, courses, study tours, on the job training and field missions.
Cooperation with national, regional and international organizations
RAC/SPA is the lead MAP centre for cooperation with the regional and international governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned with the protection of areas and species, in accordance with the specificity of each organization and the need to avoid the duplication of activities. It will also continue to collaborate with the other MAP components and with all relevant partners in the region to ensure synergy and complementarity in relation to action concerning specially protected areas and biodiversity.
In this regard, particular emphasis will be placed on giving effect to specific provisions of the SPA/BD Protocol respecting:
- Relations with national authorities :
- The appointment of National Focal Points for SPAs, who are the representatives of the Contracting Parties and the point of contact for RAC/SPA;
- The regular organization of meetings which enable the various stakeholders to meet on at least a two-yearly basis; and
- The drafting of regular reports which provide information regarding the implementation of the SPA/BD Protocol.
- Relations with other partners (UN bodies, international and regional conventions and agreements, IGOs, NGOs and the private sector ) :
- These may attend the meetings of the National Focal Points as observers.
- Some partners are also identified in the Action Plans for the conservation of threatened species and habitats adopted within the MAP framework as being "Partners" or "Associates" to these Action Plans.
- Finally, where appropriate, memoranda of cooperation may be drawn up between RAC/SPA and its partners to promote the implementation of activities under the SPA/BD Protocol.