Monitoring and Assessment of the Mediterranean Environment: Towards a Regional System


A three-days meeting highlighted good progress towards the preparation and implementation of the ambitious Mediterranean ‘Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme’ (IMAP) launched in 2016 by COP 19. The meeting brought together more than 70 participants from the Mediterranean countries, the European Union, and other key partners. It was held in Rome on July 10-12 and organized by the coordinating unit of the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). 

The ‘Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme’ (IMAP)

The main goal of IMAP is to build and implement a regional monitoring system gathering reliable and up-to-date data and information on the marine and coastal Mediterranean environment. By adopting IMAP, Mediterranean countries committed to monitor and report on 23 common indicators, covering topics related to pollution, marine litter, biodiversity, non-indigenous species, coast, and hydrography – while taking into account their specificities.

The approval and implementation of IMAP is a crucial milestone for the Barcelona Convention” explained Gaetano Leone, UN Environment/MAP Coordinator. “Its efficient implementation will enable us to better understand the status and trends of environmental changes at the regional level, and to take appropriate actions to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES)”.

Tremendous efforts made despite challenges

The meeting was the opportunity for all Mediterranean countries to take stock on where they stand on the national implementation of IMAP. “The meeting highlighted the difficulties faced, but also the tremendous efforts made by the countries in designing national monitoring programmes based on IMAP”, added Gaetano Leone. “IMAP is now expected to become a crucial tool to empower governments and communities to take evidence-based, informed decisions”. 

Way forward

The 2017 Mediterranean Quality Status Report acknowledged the need for more data, monitoring and integrated assessment to help us understand the complex processes at work in the Mediterranean. The goal is now for IMAP to become the main source of data and information for the next Quality Status Report scheduled in 2023.  

To achieve this ambitious goal, further work is required by the parties and MAP’s components. In particular, there are still needs for further resource mobilization, capacity building and technical assistance.

Date of Article: 
Wednesday, July 18, 2018