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Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) in the Mediterranean by the Contracting parties in the context of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols.

"The Ecosystem Approach recognizes that humans, with their cultural
diversity, are an integral component of ecosystems",
(Convention on
Biological Diversity)
Total duration:

36 months, from June 2012 - May 2015.

Beneficiary Countries:

Mediterranean countries.


The ecosystem approach (EcAp) is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention have been engaged, at their 18th Ordinary Meeting, into the implementation of the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities in the Mediterranean, with the ultimate objective to achieve a Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Mediterranean Sea. They also outline a Roadmap for its implementation. (Read More)

Moreover, the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy framework Directive (MSFD, 2008) by the EU Member States in the region presents crucial opportunities and needs for the application of the EcAp throughout the Mediterranean region ensuring that the MSFD and EcAp mutually strengthen and build on each other, with the common ultimate aim to achieve GES of the Mediterranean sea.

Contracting Parties decisions (Decision IG.17/6 on "Implementation of the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities that may affect the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment" and the Decision IG.20/4 on "Implementing the Ecosystem Approach Roadmap") reflect the wish to strengthen cooperation and seek synergies with the EU initiative, the MSFD, to achieve a shared vision of “a healthy Mediterranean with marine and biological ecosystems that are productive and biologically diverse for the benefit of present and future generations”.


The objective of this project is to support UNEP/MAP to implement the COP decisions regarding the application of ecosystem approach in the Mediterranean in full synergy and coherence with the implementation of the MSFD.

This project in particular contributes to ensure that the Ecosystem Approach becomes MAP’s core implementation strategy by addressing central issues related to the implementation of the EcAp road-map such as establishing targets and good environmental status, the integrated monitoring system, the governance of the application of EcAp and the socio-economic assessment as well some dimensions of the relevant measures.


The project is organized around five specific activities:

  1. Assessment: Complement the integrated assessment of the Mediterranean Ecosystem with a socio-economic assessment and establish an assessment cycle by developing a UNEP/MAP policy on assessments of the marine and coastal environment to be periodically implemented;
  2. Targets and Good Environmental Status: Work on methodologies for the determination of good environmental status and target for each of the 11 agreed Ecological Objectives; and implement a pilot case which successfully tests EcAp indicators;
  3. Monitoring: Prepare an integrated monitoring system based on the indicators and targets;
  4. Develop and review relevant measures for implementation of EcAp;
  5. Overall governance of the Ecosystem Approach.

RAC/SPA has been further engaged in the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) through participation in monitoring cluster meetings, GES and targets meetings and in integrated consultation meetings giving technical support to the process.

The Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Guidance

RAC/SPA has participated to CORMON meetings on biodiversity and Fisheries in order to create the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme and has also hired technical experts on marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles to contribute to the elaboration of the EcAp monitoring guidance document on monitoring for the EO1: Biodiversity and its common indicators 3-5 i.e. Species distributional range; Population abundance of selected species (marine mammals, seabirds, marine reptiles and monk seals); and Population demographic characteristics.

Gap Analysis on existing measures under the Barcelona Convention relevant to achieving or maintaining good environmental status of the Mediterranean Sea, in line with the Ecosystem Approach

RAC/SPA has participated on the development of a Gap Analysis of existing measures under the Barcelona Convention relevant to the achievement or maintenance of the Good Environmental Status of the Mediterranean Sea, in line with the EcAp, in particular regarding Biodiversity and Non Indigenous Species. In line with the Decsion IG.21/3, the aim of this document is to analyze how the current measures under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (including Regional and National Action Plans) are addressing the regionally agreed EcAp Targets, with the overall aim of achieving the Good Environmental Status of the Mediterranean. Furthermore, it aims to identify key implementation gaps and where possible new measures that would be necessary in order to achieve all EcAp Targets and to have a coherent EcAp Programme of Measures.

In collaboration with:

Project developed in partnership with:

medpol medpol medpol UNEP/MAP

and the financial support of: