Mediterranean Ecological and Operational Objectives &
the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP)

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (EU MSFD) aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) of the EU's marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. UNEP/MAP Barcelona Convention aims to achieve the Good Environmental Status of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast, through the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach. Therefore, every effort has been made to ensure harmonization and strengthened synergies between UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention and MSFD.

At their 19th Ordinary Meeting (COP19, Athens, Greece,9-12February 2016), the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) -namely21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union-adopted an overland ambitious Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme and related Assessment Criteria (IMAP). IMAP is a key achievement for the Mediterranean region, which will enable for the first time a quantitative, integrated analysis of the state of the marine and coastal environment, covering pollution and marine litter, biodiversity, non-indigenous species, coast, and hydrography, based on common regional indicators, targets and Good Environmental Status (GES) descriptions.

In the context of the Barcelona Convention, a common indicator is an indicator that summarizes data into a simple, standardized, and communicable figure and is ideally applicable in the whole Mediterranean basin, or at least on the level of subregions, and is monitored by all Contracting Parties. A common indicator is able to give an indication of the degree of threat or change in the marine ecosystem and can deliver valuable information to decision-makers.

The common indicator in relation to NIS is: COMMON INDICATOR 6: Trends in abundance, temporal occurrence, and spatial distribution of non-indigenous species, particularly invasive, non-indigenous species, notably in risk areas (EO2, in relation to the main vectors and pathways of spreading of such species in the water column and sea bed, as appropriate);

Non-indigenous species monitoring in the Mediterranean is a trend monitoring, where it is key to establish reliable, long-term datasets as the first step of monitoring. following the risk-based approach, it needs to be focused on the invasive alien species (IAS) in IAS introduction “hot-spots” (e.g. ports and their surrounding areas, docks, marinas, aquaculture installations, heated power plant effluents sites, offshore structures). In addition, areas of special interest such as marine protected areas or lagoons may be selected on a case by case basis, as appropriate, depending on the proximity to alien species introduction hot spots. As the most effective monitoring method a Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS) will be carried out, at least yearly by the Contracting Parties in hot-spot areas.