In January 2011, a project related to marine conservation and in particular marine protected areas in the Mediterranean was launched. Its title is “NEREUS: Identifying Areas, Features, Species, Ecosystems and Threats in the Mediterranean Sea for building a representative network of Marine Managed Areas for Conservation”. The major active partners of this project are ACCOBAMS, IUCN-Med, MedWET, RAC/SPA, MedPAN.
The project is being implemented in the Mediterranean countries of North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt; of Eastern Mediterranean: Lebanon, Syria and Turkey; and of Eastern Adriatic: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania. The primary aim of the NEREUS project is to gather, produce, synthesize and communicate information on the marine environment (species, features, resources and threats) and to identify conservation priorities sites in the Mediterranean Sea.
MedWet participated in this project by delegating PHD candidate Ms Faidra Bazigou, as the resource expert for the Adriatic region. As the mission of MedWet is to ensure and support the effective conservation of wetlands and the wise use of their resources, values and services, through local, national, regional and international collaborations, the countries of the Eastern Adriatic region which are spotted with coastal wetlands of international importance, are a particular interest. In the past, MedWet has participated in the inventory of wetlands in some of these countries and has collaborated with regional initiatives, exchanging knowledge and expertise on conservation and management of wetlands and on capacity enhancement. In the present project, MedWet has contributed to the establishment of a baseline information system describing the legal and institutional framework for the conservation and protection of the coastal wetlands and marine protected areas in the Eastern Adriatic.
The role of the expert was dual: to directly contact, meet and interview involved people and institutions of the Eastern Adriatic countries such as administration, universities, public and private entities, including NGOs working on protected areas and marine protected areas specifically, and, to collect data on National and International legislation, related to the environment (marine and coastal), protected areas (marine, terrestrial, wetlands, and areas of national and international relevance), monitoring, indicators and Integrated Coastal Zone Management.
Information concerning the legal and institutional framework protecting the marine and coastal environment of the Eastern Adriatic countries has been collected through desk research: literature review, and retrieval and scanning of legal acts. Complementary was the use of interviews to stakeholders and experts in the countries of interest, in order to obtain a view of the existing institutional framework for protected areas and to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of each country for the declaration of marine protected areas. Currently, the finalisation of the country profiles for Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania is prepared with the contribution of IUCN-Med and IUCN Environmental Law Center in Bonn.