The European Union funded IMAP-MPA project coordinated by UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat and executed by MedPOL and SPA/RAC aims at consolidating and supporting the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) process for Marine Protected Areas (MPA) management and sustainable development in the Southern Mediterranean countries.

The IMAP-MPA project activities went underway in Tunisia in October 2020 with a first online meeting, to discuss the national integrated monitoring programme of the marine environment and the implementation of the management plan of the north-eastern islets of Kerkennah Archipelago, a future MPA.

The meeting was organized by SPA/RAC on October 7th, 2020, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment of Tunisia, with the participation of representatives of national authorities and institutions, as well as civil society organizations. 

The meeting selected the sites of Kerkennah (north-eastern islets) and Kuriat, both future MPAs and already benefiting from management measures, and the Gulf of Gabes, which is an area under high pressure, to launch the monitoring activities. The comparison of monitoring results will be used to better understand the impacts of human activities on the marine environment and to set up or adapt management measures as needed. This approach is in line with the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast (Decision IG.22/7) adopted in 2016, by the 19th Conference of Parties to the Barcelona Convention.

Discussions also focused on the means to be deployed to coordinate and sustain all activities related to the monitoring of the marine environment in Tunisia within the framework of the IMAP regional process. Thus, it was decided to set up, under the aegis of the Ministry of Local Affairs and Environment, a permanent national steering committee for the IMAP programme in Tunisia, that will include three working groups on: Pollution and Marine Litter, Biodiversity and Fisheries, Coast and Hydrography. The national IMAP committee should involve all governmental departments and institutions concerned by these topics, as well as NGOs and resource persons.

The committee will, among other things, ensure a synergistic and coordinated implementation of the activities of the IMAP-MPA project and those of the upcoming EcAp MED III project "The effective implementation of the ecosystem approach based on integrated monitoring and assessment of the Mediterranean Sea and its coasts in synergy with the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)", of which Tunisia is also beneficiary.

Finally, it was recommended to create a national platform for data banking, exchange and communication and to further invest in capacity building of the involved stakeholders.

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published on 2021/01/15 08:39:37 GMT+0 last modified 2020-12-21T17:23:10+00:00