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SPA/BD Protocol

The SPA/BD Protocol is the Mediterranean’s main tool for implementing the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, as regards the in situ sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity.

The Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the Barcelona Convention adopted the Protocol in 1995.

The Protocol envisages three main elements in order to ensure the safeguard of biological diversity in the Mediterranean:

  1. The creation, protection and management of Specially Protected Areas (SPAs)
  2. The establishment of a list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs)
  3. The protection and conservation of species

In order to meet this objectives, the following aspects are developed:

  • Conservation of types of marine and coastal ecosystem that are typical of the Mediterranean;
  • Protecting habitats that are in danger of disappearance or are necessary for the survival, reproduction and restoration of threatened or endemic species;
  • Protecting sites of scientific, aesthetic, cultural or educational interest;
  • Development and implementation of management plans ;
  • Setting up and promoting Specially Protected Areas ;
  • Conservation of species that are threatened of extinction, endangered, or to be managed;
  • Sustainable use of biological resources

The Protocol's recommendations

The SPA/BD Protocol recommends concrete protection measures to safeguard elements of biological diversity through Action Plans and technical tools for inventory. The Protocol recommends setting up Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs), including trans-boundary areas, in areas where several states have sovereignty and in international waters.