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03/23: Three keywords for ocean effective protection by 2030


IMPAC 5 brought together conservation leaders and stakeholders from around the world in Vancouver to share experiences and spread most successful initiatives. Through the events it organised and participated in, SPA/RAC highlighted some of the key approaches and actions needed to ensure effective conservation and management of 30% of the ocean by 2030 and beyond.

 Broaden perspectives

Currently 8.33% of the Mediterranean is under legal protection, only 0.04% is under strict protection. How can we achieve the 30% protection target by 2030 while ensuring the best management conditions? The Barcelona Convention's Post-2020 Regional strategy for MCPAs and OECMs, adopted in December 2021, calls for a broader perspective, encouraging Mediterranean countries to recognise OECMs. Another fundamental point of this strategy is to educate young people to better recognise and appreciate the value of protected areas, to encourage exchanges between managers from different backgrounds and of course to provide regular training, all to increase mobilisation and anchor the commitment to conservation.

All these points were presented at the event "Conserving the Mediterranean Sea through sound MCPAs and OECMs systems" organised by SPA/RAC, where Souha El Asmi, Asma Kheriji and Atef Limam from SPA/RAC intervened. Actions undertaken in the framework of the European Union funded projects IMAP-MPA and ENSERES and the SPAMI Twinning Programme were presented to show examples of successful and replicable experiences in the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

The issue of OECMs was also at focus in a session organised by WCPA where SPA/RAC, represented by Souha El Asmi, participated in discussions on the progress made on a global scale in terms of identifying OECMs and the challenges encountered in interpreting the CBD definition and criteria when applied to marine OECMs from different sectors (fisheries, cultural, military, oil and gas, etc.).


The Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Forum is a unique process, involving all stakeholders in the management of marine protected areas to improve their management and overcome some of the issues that hinder their development. A roadmap for the Mediterranean is prepared at each forum, held approximately every four years, identifying the actions needed at different levels (from MPA to local and regional levels) to effectively protect the Mediterranean. At the basis of this reflection and commitment is collaboration.

The forum process and its outcomes were discussed at the event "The Road to 2030: The Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Forum and Roadmap, A Unique and Key Process for Reaching MPA Targets", co-organised by SPA/RAC, MedPAN, WWF and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, with the intervention of Khalil Attia, Director of SPA/RAC, Sylvie Goyet, the Advisor to the Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation,  Asma Kheriji from SPA/RAC, Carole Martinez from MedPAN and Camille Loth from WWF.

Stand together

The Mediterranean is unevenly protected, with most MPAs located on European coasts. Although there has been considerable progress across the Mediterranean in protecting it, the gap between north and south persists. One of the key points to reduce this gap is financial support for MPAs on the southern shore and increased exchanges between managers to strengthen this support. In a word, solidarity.

SPA/RAC, represented by its Director Khalil Attia, participated to the session "Build Back a Blue and Stronger Mediterranean: Unique and Replicable Alliance Between Conservation Trust Fund and Network of MPA Managers" co-organised by MedPAN and MedFund, respectively networks of MPA managers and environmental trust fund for MPAs, to discuss effective operational tools, combining financial and human networking, to boost MPAs in the Mediterranean.