Share this page Print this page Add this page to my favourites Recommend this page to a friend Increase fontDecrease font

Barcelona Convention “for the protection of the marine environment and the Mediterranean coastline”

Within the framework of the Barcelona Convention "for the protection of the Marine environment and the Mediterranean coastline", the agency gives its technical support to the Ministry of Ecology for the implementation of the "biodiversity and special protection areas" protocol and the actions concerning these areas. The Barcelona Convention is the support for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), the first "regional sea" program of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), set up in 1975, bringing together 21 neighbouring states and the European Union.

Barcelona Convention and SPA/BD Protocol

Conscious of the threats looming over the Mediterranean (a reservoir of  biodiversity subject to multiple pressures), in 1975 neighbouring states decided to join together within the framework of an Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) to act together for its protection.
The first regional sea programme of the UNEP, the MAP today reunited 21 member states and the European Union, all of whom are signatories of the Barcelona Convention "for the protection of the marine environment and the Mediterranean coastline", which provides the legal framework for it.
This convention is linked to seven protocols, including the Protocol concerning Special Protection Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (SPA/BD Protocol), whose implementation is coordinated by the CAR/ASP (regional action centre for special protection areas).

A strategic action programme for biodiversity in the Mediterranean (PASBIO)

Launched in 2008, the PASBIO is a diagnosis and consultation process: from an evaluation of the state of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and objectives and current shortfalls, this programme proposes priority actions to be put in place to achieve the objectives of the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) in the Mediterranean.
Seven regional action plans for the protection of species are already underway:

  1. monk seals
  2. sea turtles
  3. cetaceans (notably the common dolphin)
  4. sea birds
  5. cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays)
  6. marine vegetation (including posidonia),
  7. prevention and monitoring of invasive species (non–indigenous).

Within the framework of a four-party convention with the  CAR/ASP,  the UICN and ACCOBAMS, the agency has developed a partnership for the technical and financial creation of marine mammal surveys and the exploration of canyons in the Mediterranean.

The creation of a coherent and well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas (or Special Protection Areas: SPA)

France has around 100 Special Protection Areas, of which more than half are Marine Protected Areas, with management status.

The CAR/ASP encourages the creation of Special Protection Areas, marine or coastal, by states, particularly those in the southern Mediterranean, and the improvement of their management (MedMPA project).
The agency contributes through its technical expertise in seminars organised by the CAR/ASP, both on scientific subjects (posidonia, corals, etc.) and MPA management.
The list of SPAMI (Special Protection Areas of Mediterranean Importance) corresponds to an award given to the best performing sites for their exemplary nature: representative of species or ecosystems that are specific to the region and that are under effective management.

The Port Cros National Park was the first French SPAMI created in 2002. Three new SPAMIs have been identified since 2009 on the French coasts:

  • the Réserve des Bouches de Bonifacio, a support for the future International Marine Park, in 2009
  • the Parc Marin de la Côte Bleue and
  • the site at Embiez entrusted to the Conservatoire du Littoral, whose registration on the list of SPAMI

will be published by the 2012 conference of parties.

Applicable also in zones where some of the limits have not yet been defined and those beyond national jurisdiction, the SPAMI concept also enables the development of cross-border conservation cooperation. 

Created in 1999, the PELAGOS sanctuary, based on an international agreement between France, Italy and Monaco, is the first, and currently only, high seas SPAMI.
PELAGOS sanctuary map

Offshore conservation priority zones

By combining biological criteria, notably those of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB), and those relating to halieutic resources, the CAR/ASP has defined 12 high seas priority conservation zones.

With the support of the Agency, the French Ministry for Sustainable Development has made a commitment to a "thought process" with Spain regarding the protection of the Gulf of Lion.