Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean: the SIMWESTMED and SUPREME projects

The UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Coordinating Unit, PAP/RAC, and INFO/RAC are participating as implementing partners in two EU-funded projects focusing on supporting the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) processes in EU Members States, and cross-border cooperation in MSP initiatives. The initiatives will contribute to the implementation of the EU MSP Directive as well as the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol to the Barcelona Convention and the achievement of Good Environmental Status of the Mediterranean Sea and Coasts, building also on the long-standing experience within the UN Environment/MAP system in designing and implementing ICZM tools and MSP processes.

The two projects, with a total duration of two years (January 2017- December 2018), bring together as partners key national and regional actors in MSP implementation, including research institutions, marine and coastal planning and management authorities.  

Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Western Mediterranean region (SIMWESTMED)

With a total budget of 2.822.501 Euros, the project will support EU-member states in the western Mediterranean region that are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention: France, Italy, Malta, and Spain.

Activities under UN Environment/MAP responsibility, in coordination with PAP/RAC mainly focus on:

  • Supporting a common understanding for the Western Mediterranean region on MSP application in the framework of the Barcelona Convention and its ICZM Protocol, enhancing synergies and cooperation with Contracting Parties which are not EU Member States
  • Strengthening the coordination and common implementation of different sectorial policies in relation to the MSP implementation processes, taking into due consideration the ecosystem approach
  • Analyzing and supporting land-sea interactions and connections between MSP and ICZM
  • Establishing case studies on MSP implementation, building on the experience gained through the implementation of CAMP Projects in the framework of the ICZM Protocol

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Supporting Maritime Spatial Planning in the Eastern Mediterranean (SUPREME)

With a total budget of 2.499.994 Euros, the project will support EU-member states in the eastern Mediterranean region that are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention: Croatia, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia.

Activities under UN Environment/MAP responsibility, in coordination with PAP/RAC and Info-RAC mainly focus on:

  • Supporting the definition and application of MSP in the Eastern Mediterranean region in a systematic and integrated manner, ensuring region-wide coherence in line with the Barcelona Convention and its ICZM Protocol
  • Establishing an MSP cooperation platform to enable permanent and operational networking on MSP in the Eastern Mediterranean region
  • Assessing data and information gaps and supporting data availability, interoperability and sharing
  • Enhancing stakeholders’ involvement and participation
  • Analyzing and supporting land-sea interactions (LSI) and connections between MSP and ICZM

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The project “Mediterranean Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach, in Coherence with the EU MSFD? (EcAp MED II, with timeline of 2015-2018), aims to assist the Southern Mediterranean Contracting Parties to implement the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP), adopted by COP 19 (Decision IG.22/7)

As such, the project seeks to support the Southern Mediterranean Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention through assisting them in establishing new updated monitoring programmes in line with the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme. This will enable for the first time a quantitative monitoring of the status of the Mediterranean sea and coast on a regional basis, covering biodiversity and non-indigenous species, coast and hydrography, and pollution and marine litter monitoring in an interlinked manner.

In addition, the project addresses some specific challenges of the ecosystem approach implementation,by strengthening science-policy interface, addressing sub-regional implementation needs, and responding to data and information challenges in the region.

The project covers the period of six semesters from 2015-2018, with a budget of 2,675,000 EUR. It builds on the achievements of the EcAp-MED 2012-2015 EU-funded project and aims for potential co-financing both from the Mediterranean Trust Fund and other resources.

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The EcAp-MED I project (2012-2015) supported UNEP/MAP to implement the Ecosystem Approach roadmap in the Mediterranean in synergy with the EU MSFD. The project supported the assessment of the state of the marine and coastal environment including socio-economic aspects in the Mediterranean, and assisted the establishment of the Mediterranean sea and coast ecological and operational objectives based on the ecosystem approach, and an Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme. In addition, it supported the 2015 Marine Litter assessmenet in the Mediterranean, the development of the Offshore Action Plan and the building a framework to facilitate the joint establishment of SPAMIs in open seas. The total budget of the project was € 1,716,000.

As such, the project supported UNEP/MAP to achieve the following milestone deliverables:

  • preparation of the regionally applicable targets, GES and indicators, principles and roadmap for an Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme, and through integrating the Ecosystem Approach to the overall work of the Barcelona Convention (COP18 EcAp Decision IG.21/3);
  • preparation of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast and Related Assessment Criteria, (COP19 IMAP Decision IG.22/7); 
  • preparation of the Mediterranean Offshore Action Plan in the framework of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil, (COP19 Offshore Action Plan Decision IG.22/3); 
  • preparation of the Fishing for Litter Guidelines, Assessment Report, Baselines Values, and Reduction Targets Marine Litter, Implementing the Marine Litter Regional Plan in the Mediterranean (COP19 Decision IG.22/10).

The project has also contributed to better understanding of socio-economic perspectives of Ecosystem Approach, through specific socio-economic analysis and it has contributed to the development of SPAMIs by holding consultation meetings between the neighboring countries in the selected areas. Furthermore, is has intensified consultation and cooperation between the Secretariats of GFCM, ACCOBAMS and IUCN-MED in areas of common interest and assisted in sharing best practices in the area of biodiversity.

Other projects to support the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach 

In addition, between 2007 and 2009, UNEP/MAP had benefitted from several small-scale projects funded by the European Commission to start the process of implementing the ecosystem approach which supported the preparation of the roadmap, vision and goals for implementing the ecosystem approach in the Mediterranean by MAP.


Marine litter MED 2016-2019

The overall objective of this EU-funded project is to support UNEP-MAP/Barcelona Convention and its Contracting Parties to prevent and manage Marine Litter through the implementation of the Marine Litter Regional Plan adopted by COP 18 of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, Istanbul, 2013,  in synergy with the relevant work under UNEP/GPA Global Partnership for Marine Litter, the implementation of the European Union (EU) Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the UfM H2020 initiative for a cleaner Mediterranean, the EU SwitchMed Programme and in coordination with the other European Regional Seas.

With the ultimate objective of achieving the Good Ecological Status (GES) of the Mediterranean Sea, “Marine Litter-MED? project aims to specifically support the Contracting Parties from Southern Mediterranean/EU Neighborhood to implement the Marine Litter Regional Plan through the implementation of a number of measures envisaged in the updated NAPs endorsed by COP 19 of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, ensuring complementarities with UNEP/MAP MTS 2016-2021, UfM H2020 Initiative, EU MSFD Common Implementation Strategy and ML and ecosystem approach related regional and national ongoing projects contributing to achieve the Marine litter reduction targets adopted by COP 19, February 2016.

The project also aims at promoting enhanced regional governance on marine litter management among all stakeholders. For that purpose, a Regional Cooperation Platform was established, as an instrumental tool to provide coordinated support and guidance to the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean. It also envisages direct support to the Black Sea Commission in their efforts to finalize a Marine Litter Regional Plan and a Marine Litter Monitoring Programme.

The project covers the period of six semesters from 2016-2019, with a budget of 1,400,000 EUR. It will benefit co-financing from the Mediterranean Trust Fund and aims at mobilizing additional external resources.


SEIS 2016-2019

The work under the SEIS-South Support Mechanism builds on the activities undertaken within the preceding, ENPI-SEIS project, and is implemented in close partnership by EEA and UNEP/MAP ensuring close synergies with a number of relevant parallel activities, such as the EEA cooperation with its member and cooperating countries on MSFD implementation, NAPs update, implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp), implementation of other regional strategies/Action Plans.

To underpin the execution of activities within SEIS-South Support Mechanism addressed by the current agreement, an EEA-UNEP/MAP joint Work Plan has been drawn up, covering the six year period 2016-2021.
Over recent years the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention has been increasingly working towards implementing a holistic approach encompassing environmental data and information from all the Mediterranean countries (Southern, Northern and Eastern shores) and regional sources. Building on previous efforts and activities, as well as progressively integrating existing information systems, UNEP/MAP aims to improve accessibility and information sharing over institutional, administrative and international boundaries and thereby support the implementation of SEIS practices and principles in the Mediterranean region.

With a total estimated budget of €1,800,000, work will be structured around 6 work packages across 4 thematic clusters - Water, Waste, Industrial emissions, and cross-cutting issues.
The work package are:

  1. In-Country support
  2. Indicators and Assessments
  3. Data and statistics
  4. Infrastructure and data management (Common Information system)
  5. Visibility and communication
  6. Coordination and management

The UNEP/MAP contribution to the implementation of SEIS-South Support Mechanism includes activities covering coordination, technical and scientific support, as follows:

  • Lead the In-Country support package
  • Co-lead the Indicators and Assessments, and Infrastructure and data management packages with EEA
  • Lead the thematic cluster on waste
  • Lead the thematic cluster on industrial emissions
  • Co-lead the Coordination and management package with EEA
  • Co-lead the thematic cluster on water with EEA
  • Co-lead the cross-cutting cluster with EEA.

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The MedPartnership 2009-2015

The Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership) is a collective effort of leading environmental institutions and organizations together with countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea to address the main environmental challenges that Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems face.

The MedPartnership was led by the United Nations Environment Programme / Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and financially supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and other donors, including the European Commission and all participating countries.

The MedPartnership catalyzed action to create an enabling environment for the necessary policy, legal and institutional reforms in the partner countries, as well as investments, to:

  • improve environmental conditions of pollution and biodiversity hotspots and other priority areas under stress;
  • promote the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources through integrated approaches;
  • reduce pollution from land-based sources;
  • enhance the protection of ‘critical’ habitats and species;
  • integrate climate considerations into national marine and coastal planning.

The Project was carried out in the following GEF eligible countries:
Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.


ClimVar and ICZM 2012-2015

The “Integration of climatic variability and change into national strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean? project (“ClimVar and ICZM?) is a sister project to the MedPartnership. It is a collective effort to promote the use of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in countries sharing the Mediterranean as an effective tool to deal with the impacts of climate variability and change in coastal zones, by mainstreaming them into the ICZM process.

It was approved in January 2012 and was completed late in 2015. The project developed the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas, adopted by COP 19 in 2016. 

The countries participating in the project were Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia.

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SWITCH-MED 2012-2016

The SWITCH-MED project is a multi-component programme that addresses the need to promote sustainable consumption and production and resource efficiency in the Mediterranean. It started in October 2012 with an initial duration of 3 years, and was extended until June 2016 to allow for the smooth finalization of the project's activities.

It comprises a national and a regional policy component, built on the framework and network of the Barcelona Convention. The national component targets 8 ENPI South beneficiary countries and supports them in the process of development and approval of their SCP National Action Plans. The regional component targets the Barcelona Convention member countries as well as Palestine and Jordan.

It is focused on developing and presenting to the Barcelona Convention contracting parties a set of proposals for the integration of SCP in the Regional Mediterranean policy and governance framework, a SCP roadmap for the Mediterranean and the establishment of a SCP knowledge online platform.

The Barcelona Convention Contracting parties adopted in their COP 19, 2016 the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean and its Roadmap for implementation.  

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