The Context

 Credit: Slaven Vilus

A special place in the Mediterranean

The Adriatic Sea is considered as a distinct biogeographical sub-unit of the Mediterranean Sea.
It hosts the most notable marine and costal Mediterranean habitats that provide valuable ecosystem services to the local populations and economic activities.

The Adriatic Sea is at a crossroads.
The region’s marine resources and ecosystems are at risk, facing growing threats from the impacts of pollution, overfishing, unsustainable tourism and climate change. This, in turn, is jeopardizing the future well-being and livelihood of people living on the coast and beyond, from Italy to Albania.


The Adriatic Sea is home to 49% of all Mediterranean species.


There are more than 7,000 species of flora and fauna, with a high rate of endemism.


More than 30 million people live in the catchment area of the Adriatic Sea, of which 30% live on the coast.

Coastal urbanization

In the countries bordering the Adriatic, coastal urbanization has increased by an average of 330% since 1975.


Approximately 50,000 tons of plastic enter the Adriatic Sea every year.

Climate change

The projected rise in seasonal and annual mean temperature by 2100 is between 2°C and 4.5°C. The projected rise in sea level by 2100 is approximately 1 m.

Non-indigenous species

At least 113 alien species have been recorded in the eastern Adriatic Sea, and at least half are favored by the effects of climate change.

Marine Spatial Planning

In order to build a sustainable future for the region, both for the marine environment and for those who directly depend on its resources, it’s important to manage marine activities collaboratively, across borders and sectors. This approach is called Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), and the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention have adopted Conceptual Framework for Marine Spatial Planning in the Mediterranean as a common framework for the management of Mediterranean marine resources.
Read more about the framework