MPA4Change – supporting the adaptation of Marine Protected Areas to Climate Change

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EUROPARC joins a new project: MPA4Change. The project aims to support the adaptation of Marine Protected Areas to Climate Change.

After six months of drought, Barcelona woke up last Friday under a very awaited rain. Unfortunately, in this region like in other parts of the world, extreme weather events and drought periods are more frequent and its relation with Climate Change effects seem to be undeniable.

Coincidentally, at that same time and in this same city, partners from 9 European institutions gathered to kick-start the new MPA4Change project. This initiative aims to promote the role of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and marine restoration as Nature Based Solutions for the adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change.

A transferring initiative

Despite the short duration of the project, which has an implementation period of two years, this initiative developed under and funded by the Interreg Euro-MED programme is expected to achieve big things because of the following:

On the one hand, MPA4Change is built on existing experience, tools, networks and relationships. As it is a transfer project, it will capitalise on previous Interreg MED projects such as MPA-Adapt, MPA-Engage, Amare and AMAre Plus, as well as the outputs of recent and ongoing EU H2020 projects such as MERCES and FutureMARES.

Among the results yielded by these projects, a collection of tools for risk assessment, monitoring, data sharing, restoration, citizen science, participatory approaches, action plans definition and communication will be fine-tuned and re-used to support the adaptation of Mediterranean MPAS to Climate Change.

Participants at the Kick-off meeting of MPA4Change, Institut de Ciencies del Mar, Barcelona. Photo by EUROPARC Federation.

On the other hand, EUROPARC Federation will take the lead in order to facilitate the dialogue at the political level and integrate the existing toolkits into European and Mediterranean strategies for Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Finally, the project will consolidate the creation of a Roster, or group of experts with proved experience on setting Climate Change adaptation plans. This Roster will be designed in order to outlive the project and keep providing long term support to MPAs in the Mediterranean region for the implementation of Nature-based Solutions and restoration actions in order to increase their resilience against Climate Change effects.

More information and updates on MPA4Change will be published soon on EUROPARC’s and associated partner channels.