On 13 and 14 February 2018, the SIMWESTMED partners met in Marseille, France, to review the progress of project activities. Rich discussions helped the French, Spanish, Italian and Maltese country representatives, as well as international experts to step forward on different major topics. The key steps were agreed to allow for the final drafting of the key reports, with PAP/RAC in a leading role on “MSP within the Barcelona Convention”, “ICZM & MSP integration”, “Land-sea interactions”, stakeholders engagement, etc. The case studies were presented as well. The debate helped fine tune the role of each partner to enable a smooth implementation of planned actions at the level of each pilot, as well as to ensure the complementarity between actions at the project level. PAP/RAC is leading two cases, the Var County and the Tyrrhenian case.
Also, the joint work plan was discussed. It was decided that the final conference of the project would take place on the Mediterranean coast, tentatively in Venice. Finally, the importance of sharing strong messages with DG Mare and the EU Commission on the need to further support transboundary projects on MSP in the Mediterranean was stressed out. To that end, all the partners will make efforts in building bridges with other initiatives in the Mediterranean and beyond. Moreover, interactions with the EU MSP Platform will be encouraged, in terms of technical assistance, communication and synergy building.
Back-to-back to this meeting, the French Biodiversity Agency organised a joint workshop on the assessment of cumulative effects for both, the SIMWESTMED and SIMNORAT projects. The meeting, which was attended by PAP/RAC representatives, paid particular attention to the following key issues: How cumulative impact assessment tools can support the MSP implementation? And, how these tools can be harmonised among the EU member countries and partners?