To safeguard biodiversity and to address increasingly complex threats to marine ecosystems, EU Member States have designated networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Whilst the MPAs cover about 12% of EU seas, almost 75% of those are part of the Natura 2000 network, which currently includes more than 2800 marine sites and covers almost 9% of Europe’s seas. In addition to Natura 2000 sites, EU Member States have designated MPAs under national legislation and in the framework of regional sea conventions (HELCOM, OSPAR, Barcelona and Bucharest conventions). All these areas will be considered in this project.
The aim of this project is to develop and test a methodology to assess the management effectiveness of marine Natura 2000 sites and other EU MPAs, in the context of obligations under the Birds and Habitats Directives and commitments under the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. This methodology will build on experiences and methods used in the Natura 2000 network and other MPAs, as well as on any other available efforts in developing new systems that can be applied to the European context.
The project involves three main tasks, with Ecologic Institute leading the first task:
- Task 1 – Review of existing frameworks, methodologies and initiatives for assessing management effectiveness of protected areas with regard to their applicability to marine Natura 2000 sites and other EU MPAs.
- Task 2 – Development of a methodology to assess management effectiveness of marine Natura 2000 sites and other EU MPAs.
- Task 3 – Testing and finalizing the methodology to assess management effectiveness of marine Natura 2000 sites and other EU MPAs. The testing will be carried out on at least 200 MPAs covering all European regional seas.