The PANACeA project, a regional initiative to provide effective protection for natural resources in the Mediterranean, has outlined its action plan for the next three years.

The new project, which involves the CPMR as a partner, brought key regional players together for a meeting in Marseille on 17 March to agree a common roadmap of future activities.

Led by the European Topic Centre of Malaga University (ETC-UMA), the project, which is co-funded by the EU Interrreg Med Programme, gathered around 60 representatives from Mediterranean institutions including the CPMR, UNEP PlanBleu of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), WWF Mediterranean, and the Barcelona Convention and IUCN. They were also joined by research universities and public authorities.

Together they discussed the various projects underway and agreed a joint framework of action to tackle the common challenges related to biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean. They also established the priorities for an enhanced Mediterranean-wide and EU environmental policies affecting the Mediterranean.

Guillaume Huet, Head of International and Mediterranean relations at Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, highlighted the importance of territorial cooperation and the involvement of private and public institutions. He said: “We have to prepare a scheme of ecological coherence and involve other authorities”.

Francesca Marcato, Project officer from the Interreg Med Programme Joint Secretariat, highlighted that “this innovative approach to integrate all projects in new biodiversity protection community will create a critical mass to influence environmental policy in the Mediterranean.”

Dania Abdul Malak, the PANACeA coordinator at ETC-UMA, explained the importance of working together and stimulating collaboration and communication among major environmental organisations, policy makers, socio-economic actors, civil society and the scientific community particularly in Mediterranean protected areas as the key to protecting biodiversity in the region.

Hosted by Villa Méditerranée, nine thematic projects involving more than 100 entities and a total investment of nearly € 18 million over three years worked for two days to agree on collaborative actions dealing with governance and management of coastal and marine areas, biodiversity monitoring, the sustainable use of natural resources, climate change and scientific methodologies and innovation.

PANACeA pursues the capitalization and transfer of key project findings within and beyond the Mediterranean and the establishment of an Interreg Med Biodiversity Protection Platform and Community towards an effective management and protection of Mediterranean ecosystems.