Page 8 - climate-change2013
P. 8

Context and aim of this guide

                     Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations are expect-  Commission  recently  adopted  a  Strategy  on  Adapta-
                     ed to have a significant impact on world climate over a   tion to Climate Change in April 2013 to promote greater
                     short time scale. The world’s atmosphere and oceans   coordination and information sharing among Member
                     are warming, and the most immediate effects of this   States,  and  to  ensure  that  adaptation  considerations
                     on the marine environment include rising sea levels,   are addressed in all relevant EU policies.
                     higher seawater temperatures and acidification, more
                     frequent extreme events and changes in oxygen levels
                     or deoxygenation processes (IPCC Fourth Assessment      Adaptation to climate change refers
                     Report, 2007). Due to these pressures and ecosystem     to adjustment in natural or human
                     responses, climate change is now considered a major     systems in response to actual or
                     driver of biodiversity change and loss. Its importance   expected climatic stimuli or their effects,
                     has been highlighted by several international conven-   which moderates harm or exploits
                     tions and treaties, including the Convention on Biologi-  beneficial opportunities (IPCC, 2007).
                     cal Diversity and the Kyoto Protocol.

                     The latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel
                     on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the Mediterrane-  Basin-wide monitoring has to be developed to assist
                     an will be strongly affected by climate change over the   with the above protocols and strategies. It may be easi-
                     course of this century. The oceanographic and physical   er to observe climate change effects in protected areas
                     aspects of climate change in the Mediterranean have   as they are normally better shielded from anthropogen-
                     been described in many reports and scientific studies,   ic impacts than other areas, and therefore there is likely
                     although uncertainty remains about the degree of phys-  to be less interference from other causes of change. In
                     ical and chemical change expected at sub-regional and   this regard, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Medi-
                     local scales (Lionello, 2012).                 terranean can play an important role as ‘sentinel sites’,
                                                                    where the effects of climate change can be studied and
                     Despite its importance for biodiversity conservation, lit-  management strategies can be developed to adapt to,
                     tle is yet known about the biological impact of climate   and wherever possible counter, such negative effects.
                     change on Mediterranean coastal and marine biodiver-  Individual MPAs and the Mediterranean MPA network
                     sity at all levels, as much of the current understanding is   therefore have an important role to play in enhancing
                     based on models, very few studies and discontinuous   our understanding and helping to develop strategies to
                     data mainly from the north-western part of the Mediter-  mitigate climate change effects.
                     ranean Sea (CIESM, 2008; Lejeusne et al., 2009; Coll
                     et al., 2010; UNEP-MAP-RAC/SPA, 2010). Basin-wide   Not only can climate change be monitored in MPAs
                     monitoring and information gathering on key Mediterra-  throughout the  Mediterranean  as a  way of improving
                     nean species and ecosystems therefore remains crucial   our understanding and management of its effects, but
                     for mitigating climate change effects and adapting to   it is also becoming a growing challenge to the man-
                     them. Furthermore, the region’s marine and coastal en-  agement of the MPAs themselves. There are currently
                     vironments are increasingly threatened by the impacts   675 MPAs in the Mediterranean, covering a total area of
                     of a growing population and rising demand for natural   almost 114,600 km², about 4.6% of the Mediterranean
                     resources. The combination of these pressures is likely   Sea, or just 1.1% if we exclude the Pelagos Sanctuary
                     to exacerbate the consequences of climate change.  (87,500 km²), which alone accounts for 3.5% (Gabrié
                                                                    et al., 2012). Direct evidence of the effects of climate
                     To address the impact of climate change on biodiversity,   change is already being observed at some sites (Ben-
                     the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation   soussan et al., 2010; Crisci et al., 2011; Cebrian et al.,
                     of Biological Diversity (SAP BIO) in the Mediterranean   2011). However, climate change is still not explicitly in-
                     Region set up under the Barcelona Convention Medi-  corporated in most MPA management plans and fu-
                     terranean Action Plan (MAP) in 2003, was updated on   ture assessment of MPA performance will need to take
                     climate change issues in 2009; In addition, the Almeria   these effects into account.
                     Declaration was adopted at the 15  Ordinary Meeting of   Overall, at the Mediterranean regional level, few pro-
                     the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention in   grammes aim to assess the impacts of climate change
                     2008 to provide an action framework for Mediterranean   on marine biodiversity or to support adaptation plan-
                     countries. From a coastal perspective, the Mediterra-  ning in MPAs and other areas of conservation value. In
                     nean ICZM Protocol  also provides a platform to main-  a global context, Marine Protected Areas increase the
                     stream climate change adaptation into the policies and   adaptive capacity of coastal and marine communities
                     governance of coastal management. At EU level, the
                                                                    and buffer potential climate change impacts. Building
                                                                    the capacity of MPAs through data collection, monitor-
                                                                    ing and awareness-raising about climate change con-
                     1.  PAP/RAC. 2007. ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean (signed in Madrid on 21
                     January 2008)                                  tributes to the efforts being made across the region to

                       6       COLLECTION
   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13