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FutureMARES @ COP27: Conservation & Restoration of Mediterranean Sea Ecosystems

In 2022, for the first time ever COP27 (Sharm-el-Sheikh, Nov 6-18, 2022) hosted a Mediterranean Pavilion. FutureMARES was represented in this pavilion by a number of scientists, among them Prof. Gil Rilov from IOLR (Israel), Dr. Ana Queiros (PML, UK) and Dr. Joaquim Garrabou (ICM-CSIC, Spain).

Conservation of Mediterranean Sea ecosystems under the climate crisis: challenges and adaptive solutions in a sea facing fast tropicalization (Nov 14, 2022)

Chaired by Prof. Gil Rilov, this event focused on presenting the problems and discussing possible solutions around the implementation and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas (MPSs) in the Mediterranean Sea. The discussions focused particularly on restoration actions that would support MPAs in the face of climate change. In this context, Prof. Rilov (IOLR) presented his research at the nexus of warming sea temperatures, invasive species, and the protection of marine ecosystems undertaken in FutureMARES. Dr. Ana Queiros (PML) and Dr. Joaquim Garrabou (CSIC) presented their related work from FutureMARES, as well.

Together with a panel of stakeholders, FutureMARES’ scientists debated the challenges we face when adapting the Mediterranean Sea and its marine biodiversity to a changing climate. This expert panel included Carole Martinez (Policy Manager of MedPan), Prof. Michael Scoullos (Chairman of MIO-ECSDE), and Atef Querghi (UNEP-MAP, SPA/RAC representative). Key questions addressed were:

  • What biodiversity can we effectively preserve at the local, regional, and global scales, as species rapidly move and communities dramatically shift with climate change?

  • What Nature-Based Solutions can be applied to preserve ecosystem services in climate change hotspots?

  • When is it effective to invest in restoration, and when is it not, in the face of rapid ocean warming?

Focusing on the challenges and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) of marine conservation in the Mediterranean Sea at the age of climate change, this event represented exactly what FutureMARES is all about. The Mediterranean embodies perhaps the most extreme example of environmental change in the marine realm due to global threats, most notably ocean warming (and marine heatwaves) and bio-invasions. Thus, as the challenges in the Mediterranean marine ecosystems are huge, the solutions need to be pragmatic and realistic and require adapting to and working with the change. The session at the COP invited three stakeholders into the panel who responded to the work presented by the scientists – subsequently, ideas on the topic were shared and discussed.

Watch the recording of the entire session here.

More FutureMARES Talks

On Nov 8, 2022, Dr. Ana Queiros (PML) spoke at the event "Carbon Removal Using Coastal Blue Carbon Ecosystems" as a blue carbon expert panelist, at the invitation of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The event was hosted at the IAEA pavilion and counted Prof Carlos Duarte (KAUST), and Prof Jean-Pierre Gattuso (CNRS), and Dr Josep Kipkorir Sigi Lang'at (Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute) as the other panelists. It was moderated by Jana Friedriech (Head of laboratory, Environment Laboratories, IAEA). Dr. Queiros spoke particularly about FutureMARES’ blue carbon models that you can read more about here.

Watch the entire session here.

Moreover, Dr. Ana Queiros gave a talk titled "Nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation & mitigation in Mediterranean coastal ecosystems" at the event "Climate change in the Mediterranean area: challenges, impacts and solutions". She held this talk in her capacity as a climate-smart marine spatial planning expert at the invitation of the head of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO – Africa, Dr Suzan Al-Gharabaway, who led the event. The talk focused on Dr. Queiros’s research done in FutureMARES. Carol Turley (PML) helped organise the event. The high-level event was hosted at the Ocean pavilion on November 9th 2022, and counted with opening remarks from H.E. Prof. Mohamed Ayman Ashour Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and other talks from Prof. Amr Hamouda, President of the Egyptian National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries , Dr Sarah Taylor (NOC, UK), and Brad Ack (Ocean Visions). The Egyptian government signed a moratorium of understanding with Ocean X at the event, to support each other in ocean research.

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