A SPAMI, or Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance, is a marine area located near the coast or on the high seas, and which benefits from special management measures for biodiversity conservation. One of the key characteristics of a SPAMI is that it contains ecosystems specific to the Mediterranean region or habitats of species threatened with extinction. It may also be of particular interest from a scientific, aesthetic, cultural or educational point of view.


At COP21 of the Barcelona Convention, 4 new sites were included in the SPAMI List, namely the Cerbère-Banyuls Marine Nature Reserve (France), the Egadi Islands Marine Protected Area (Italy), the Strunjan Landscape Park (Slovenia) and the Cetacean Migration Corridor in the Mediterranean (Spain). With these new declarations, the number of sites inscribed on the List increases to 39.

With the support of the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea, SPA/RAC has set up a SPAMI Twinning Programme to encourage exchanges between SPAMIs and promote good management practices. So far, 8 SPAMIs from 5 Mediterranean countries (Albania, Algeria, Italy, Slovenia and Tunisia) have benefited from this programme.


During the 12 months of the programme's implementation, eight exchange visits were organised to share management and monitoring activities between twin SPAMIs, trainings on planning according to the ISEA method were provided for 16 MPA and SPAMI managers, four management plans according to the ISEA method were drawn up and adopted by the authorities concerned. ISEA Central Planning is the tool set up by the Italian Ministry of the Environment for the coordination of activities carried out by the national MPA network. It is based on a graphic conceptual model that allows a visual understanding of the governance of the protected area, with easy identification of the ecological values of the site, threats, and the strategies and actions developed by the management body to achieve its objectives.


There were also initiatives to encourage the participatory process in the management of SPAMIs. In Tunisia, for example, new boundaries and zoning of the Kneiss SPAMI were defined. In Algeria, a fishing charter around the SPAMI of the Habibas Islands has been developed. In Slovenia, fishermen were involved in the monitoring of the Strunjan SPAMI and in Albania, the activity focused on improving the sustainability of sea excursions operated by local boatmen at the Karaburun Sazan SPAMI.


In addition, a call for small projects was launched by SPA/RAC, with the main objective of involving local civil society in the management of SPAMIs. These small projects focused on the development of sustainable socio-economic activities and monitoring within the SPAMIs.


Furthermore, a "collaborative platform" was created and presented for the first time in Brindisi, Italy, on 28 and 29 January 2020 to SPAMI managers, SPA/DB Focal Points and representatives of the Italian Ministry of the Environment. This platform centralises data on SPAMIs while allowing managers to exchange via a discussion forum.


All these initiatives aim to promote the SPAMI List and present the label as a proof of excellence in terms of protected area management in the Mediterranean. During the 2020-2021 biennium, the SPA/RAC will work further on this aspect by developing a concept to celebrate SPAMIs in the Mediterranean, and will explore opportunities to continue twinnings between SPAMIs.

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published on 2020/03/16 10:20:00 GMT+0 last modified 2020-03-18T18:29:05+00:00