Articles

Learning to apply ecosystem-based management in the Mediterranean

on 16 December 2011.

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A two-day regional training course on “Ecosystem-based management in the Mediterranean”, took place in Athens on 15-16 December 2011. It was organized by the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and WWF MedPO, in collaboration with UNEP/MAP, within the framework of the EU funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme. It was hosted by the University of Athens (UoA) and supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

65 participants from Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Montenegro, Morocco, occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey gathered to improve their understanding on ecosystem-based management concepts and tools, including scientific, economic, social and legal aspects, with the aim to improve their countries’ involvement in the development and implementation of relevant approaches. The workshop targeted professionals from relevant ministries, departments, institutions and NGOs of the partner countries, involved in the management of human activities and their impacts on the marine and coastal environment.

Dr. Gil Zeidner of the Marine and Coastal Division at the Ministry of Environmental Protection in Israel stressed the importance of getting in-depth knowledge from professionals in the field: “My country is facing tremendous expansion in infrastructure, including offshore oil and gas drilling, new desalination plants, expansion of ports, etc. It is therefore important that all those involved in the process grasp the concept, as well as the application of the ecosystem approach. The simulation exercise was really helpful towards this direction”.

To foster an engaging learning experience and achieve the best possible results, the workshop included presentations, lectures, group simulation exercises and moderated discussion.

On the methodology of the workshop, Mr. Imad Atrash of the Palestine Wildlife Society noted: “The involvement of all participants in working-groups allows the dissemination of information and sharing of experiences. Examining case studies gives a wider perspective and I will apply this method in sharing everything I learned, with my colleagues back home.”

Regarding the practical application of the knowledge acquired during the workshop, Milena Batakovic from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Montenegro stated “Through my work at the EPA, I can implement the concept of the ecosystem approach within the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Strategic Impact Assessment frameworks. We can use this information in the monitoring programme of the state of the marine ecosystem. In the future, I would like to see the development of a guide on best management practices so that through case studies we can learn how others have solved common problems”.