The Project

 Credit: Pavlo Rekun

We need to act now to preserve the Adriatic Sea and ensure the future existence and sustainable use of its natural resources.

A coordinated approach is needed to ensure the most appropriate uses of the sea, reduce related pressures, and achieve Good Environmental Status for the whole of the Adriatic. That’s where the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Adriatic project comes in.

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, at a scale that encompasses the entire Adriatic: the transboundary challenges we face require a holistic approach, known as the ecosystem approach.

Credit: Egidio Trainito

GEF Adriatic has studied how to apply an ecosystem approach in managing marine resources of the Adriatic Sea

This means considering all the elements of the marine system in their interactions and complexity, and integrating them into the strategies and policies that guide the growth of the blue economy.

Specific elements, such as the abundance of marine populations, hydrographic processes, fisheries, pollution, rising sea levels, or invasive species, cannot be considered as isolated issues. In order to assess risks and opportunities, and map which areas are fragile or suitable for development, it’s crucial to have a detailed understanding of the functions and interactions of the marine environment.

This is why the project is also demonstrating the integration of an ecosystem approach in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). Using this approach, mitigation measures or development activities can be carried out with a coherent strategy, helping planners to achieve a sustainable blue economy and, at the same time, to achieve Good Environmental Status.

The GEF Adriatic project aims to support MSP across the region
However, it has only recently beeing developed in the Adriatic, and its key principles, elements and practices are still evolving. To support these practices by strenghtening the ecosystem approach within, the project has mapped the most fragile, threatened but also the most valuable areas in the marine area of Montenegro that should be integrated into MSP, developing a model that can be replicated in other Adriatic countries.

We are at a tipping point for the balance of our ecosystems.
That’s why we need to join forces with fishermen and the tourism sector, citizen scientists and beach goers, academia and decision makers: protecting the marine environment means also protecting the future of fishermen, the attractiveness of coastal areas, and equal access to the resources of the sea.
Credit: Aldo Tare
Watch a video about the activities of GEF Adriatic
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