SPA/RAC, CNR IAS and HCMR organized a hybrid workshop on June 19, 2023, in Tunis, as part of the ABIOMMED project, to advance the integration of climate change impacts into regional strategies in both EU and non-EU countries.
The threat posed by climate change to our ecosystems and way of life no longer needs to be proven. The impacts on ecosystems are already being observed on the ground, and predictions are alarming. However, in the complex Mediterranean system, more information is needed to provide a more accurate representation of the situation and more reliable projections.
During the workshop, Mr. Khalil Attia, Director of SPA/RAC, emphasized the need for a precise and efficient framework to define the Good Environmental Status (GES) and the importance of realistically addressing climate change so as to achieve the GES in the Mediterranean region.
Ms. Leila Chikhaoui Mahdaoui, Minister of the Environment of Tunisia, highlighted existing national strategies for environmental preservation and stressed the significance of integrating climate change monitoring and assessment into these strategies.
Ms. Kalliopi Pagou, research director at HCMR and the ABIOMMED project coordinator, explained that the workshop serves as a preliminary discussion for establishing a specific guidance for climate change impact on marine ecosystems in relation to GES assessment . The aim is to support the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) and contribute to the update of the Barcelona Convention’s Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
For instance, the current IMAP includes eleven Ecological Objectives (EO) and related operational objectives monitored through common indicators. However, there is no specific Ecological Objective addressing climate change, yet.
The workshop programme covered a range of topics, including the dynamic evolution of the Mediterranean Sea under IPCC scenarios and the provisions of the SPA/BD Protocol to monitor and address climate change within the updated strategies, programmes and regional action plans. Presentations also addressed the effects of climate change on coralligenous habitats, waterbird communities in protected areas, sea turtles, fisheries, and ocean chemistry in the Mediterranean Sea, while emphasizing the importance of integrating climate change concerns into regional monitoring policies.
As a reminder, the ABIOMMED project aims to support competent authorities in the Mediterranean region, along with UNEP/MAP, in enhancing (sub)regional cooperation for the upcoming 6-year cycle of MSFD implementation.
Another objective of the ABIOMMED project is to promote exchange and harmonization among European and non-European countries in monitoring the status of marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean region.