4th Meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean Region

The Fourth Meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean Region (SAP-BIO) took place in Malaga, Spain on the 4th July 2012. The meeting was held by the Regional Activity Center on Special Protected Areas (RAC SPA) with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment of Spain and the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med). The aim of the meeting was to discuss the SAP-BIO update in relation to the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and ecosystem approach. The participants came from key organisation in the wider field of coastal and marine protected areas: ACCOBAMS, FAO, GFCM, Conservatoire du littoral, WWF MedPO, MedPAN, MedWet, UNEP/MAP,the IUCN-Med and RAC SPA.

The Secretariat provided information on the progress made in implementing SAP-BIO since its adoption in 2003, with regard to regional projects already developed or under development. In brief, they presented the state of progress of and follow-up to the MedMPAnet, an important project to support the biological diversity of vulnerable resources in the Mediterranean Sea, in keeping with the CBD’s goal to achieve an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas. They also presented the state of implementation of the Open Seas SPAMIs Project and a project concept note related to degraded coastal wetlands rehabilitation through aquaculture management as –among others- a mitigation mechanism for climate change impacts.

The participants presented their respective organisations priorities in relation to the implementation of the SAP-BIO priority fields of action. MedWet, represented by Pere Tomas Vives, noted with satisfaction the project proposal for degraded coastal wetlands and climate change and presented its work on inventorying and monitoring tools. The relevance of the “living planet index” was mentioned as a methodology for assessing the state of biodiversity worldwide, which could be applied to Mediterranean wetlands. Finally the GlobWetlandII project was mentioned as well as its potential extension to other Mediterranean countries. Other organisations presented their activities in terms of geographical areas coverage and priority fields which covered items such as the protection of cetaceans, capacity building and support for small scale projects in the marine and coastal environments, fisheries management, sustainable fish resources and illegal fishing and finally the database of marine protected areas.

The meeting was concluded with a revision of the “Draft Roadmap for the Updating of the SAP-BIO” also in relation to the schedules for other region-wide initiatives. It is expected to present the revised SAP-BIO in the next UNEP/MAP CoP at the end of 2013. Also, bilateral meetings will be held in order to take on board the demands and needs of each Party and partner. Finally, in case of delays, until the revised SAP-BIO is adopted, RAC/SPA will continue to implement the existing Programme, making occasional adjustments in accordance with countries’ revised priorities and other factors such as the Aichi strategy or the ecosystem approach.