From the Representative: Sustainable solutions for Mediterranean

01 Dec 2012

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The sustainable solution for Mediterranean region lies, among others, in the establishment and effective management of the Marine Protected Areas.

New Horizons - For thousands of years, the Mediterranean region has been the cradle of many civilizations; the hearth of trade, transport and cultural exchange between diverse people and communities.

However, the Mediterranean Sea is now subject to intense human pressure thereby denuding it of its inherent treasure and asset of resource endowment.

A sustainable solution for Mediterranean Sea where marine and biodiversity conversation can be ensured is necessary.

The success of marine and biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean region, however, to a large extent depends on networking, not only at national level but also regional and international levels.

Marine Protected Areas Forum in Antalya

Therefore it is important to notify that an important event called Marine Protected Areas Forum (MPA Forum) took place between 25-28 November in Antalya.

This MPA Forum brought together all the stakeholders in the Mediterranean (and even beyond) to increase understanding of status and challenges of marine protected areas networks and aims at serving as a forum for sharing knowledge, information and experiences on protecting and sustainable use of the marine resources and ecosystems.

MPAs indeed offer a range of benefits for the people, the marine environment and fisheries. They provide services to local communities who depend on the seas and its resources; increasing food security; reducing poverty; and opening new incompe earning opportunities.

The global biodiversity targets set in Nagoya in 2010 aim to have 10% of the planet’s marine and coastal areas under some kind of protection by 2020, a massive step up from the 1.17% of the oceans currently protected. UNDP is working hard to promote solutions which protect fisheries while supporting alternative livelihoods for communities traditionally dependent on fishing.

Health Marine Ecosystems for Food Security and Nutrition

It was only 5 months ago, in June, when more than 40,000 people attended the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - Rio+20. This was by far the largest ever UN gathering, and culminated in the adoption by 193 UN member states of the outcome document titled “The Future We Want”.

It was stressed that healthy marine ecosystems, sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture have crucial role for food security and nutrition and in providing for the livelihoods of millions of people.

As it is stated in Rio outcome document “Future We Want”, conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems contribute to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment and addressing the impacts of climate change.

I believe that this MPA Forum will be a starting point to help governments to fulfill their commitments to protect, and restore the health, productivity and resilience of marine ecosystems and to maintain their biodiversity.

It will also catalyze actions and outline the steps required to make tangible progress in advancing the marine biodiversity agenda and culminate in articulating and crafting a common vision for 2020. 

* Shahid Najam, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey and UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey

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