To mitigate the anthropic pressure on Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems, the French Development Agency has granted a grant to a trust fund dedicated to these areas. 4 million euros for Mediterranean marine protected areas. This is the check signed by the French Development Agency (AFD) Environmental Fund The MedFund, an entity chaired by Bernard Fautrier and launched in December 2015 at the initiative of Monaco, France and Tunisia.
“These funds will be placed in the international financial markets and will generate income. The interest will be used to finance the recurrent costs of marine protected areas,” says Guillaume Chiron, biodiversity project manager at AFD. “Managing this tool to protect marine ecosystems is expensive.”
And today, the report is terrible. From a qualitative point of view, the effectiveness of Mediterranean marine protected areas is globally deficient, for lack of sustainable resources to finance recurrent management costs.
“Out of 1,000 of them, barely 10% have enough financial and human resources to be really effective,” says Romain Renoux of The MedFund, “so our role is to make them effective.”
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Thus, with revenues generated, estimated at between €150,000 and €200,000 a year, some 20 marine protected areas will be supported in the coming years. Tunisia, Morocco, Albania, Algeria, Montenegro, Lebanon or in other countries.
In concrete terms, how will the money be used? The needs of each of these areas have been identified. “We will significantly increase the number of patrols at sea to do surveillance, so we have to pay the rangers, the maintenance of the boats, the fuel oil. This can also be scientific monitoring, that is to say, follow the health status of marine ecosystems. This is very expensive because it requires professional divers and specific techniques, continues Romain Renoux. Some marine protected areas are in tourist areas. The purpose of the fund will be to accompany the promotion of ecotourism activities, eco-friendly so that it is compatible with preserving these environments.”
These four million euros add up to one million already paid by the French fund for the global environment and other checks signed by the princely government, the Prince Albert II Foundation and other institutions. “We have already supported a good half-dozen marine protected areas on the southern shore of the Mediterranean,” concludes Bernard Fautrier.