Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem

Project Information

2010 - 2015

The Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership) is a collective effort of leading environmental institutions and organizations together with countries sharing the Mediterranean Sea to address the main environmental challenges that Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems face. UNESCO-IHP executes MedPartnership Sub-component 1.1 on “Management of Coastal Aquifers and Groundwater”. 

Project Background

The MedPartnership is a continuation of the previous GEF Project run by UNEP/MAP (2002-2006). This project reviewed and updated the existing Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Mediterranean (TDA-MED) and designed/elaborated two Strategic Action Programs (SAPs):

The MedPartnership focuses on priority actions identified by the signatory countries to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) in two Strategic Action Programmes (SAPs). These respectively aim to

  1. reduce land-based sources of marine pollution > SAP-MED
  2. protect biodiversity, living resources and their habitats > SAP-BIO

A long term partnership for joint planning and financing in the Mediterranean, facilitating effective and efficient use of resources in addressing countries' priorities for the protection of the marine and coastal environment. More specifically:

  • The improvement of environmental conditions in 15% of Hotspots and sensitive areas of national priority.
  • More sustainable use of coastal resources through the use of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and aquifer management.
  • The reduction of pollution from land based sources through demonstration and adoption of environmentally sound technology.
  • More sustainable use of fisheries resources through the adoption of an ecosystem based approach to fisheries, and improved protection off critical biodiversity through the management of coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.
  • The replication and scaling up of investment projects and demonstrations during the 5 year lifespan of the project.

Project Objectives

The MedPartnership's overarching goal is to enable a coordinated and strategic approach to catalyze the policy, legal and institutional reforms, and the investments necessary to reverse the degradation trends affecting the unique Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem, including its coastal habitats and biodiversity.

  • The specific objectives of the MedPartnership are:
  • to assist countries in the implementation of the SAPs and NAPs to reduce pollution from land-based sources, and preserve the biodiversity and ecosystems of the Mediterranean from degradation;
  • to assist countries in the implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management ICZM Protocol; 
  • to leverage long-term financing, and 
  • to ensure through the Barcelona Convention and MAP systems the sustainability of activities initiated within the project beyond its specific lifetime

The SAPs, NAPs and ICZM Protocol are three very important instruments which will help countries towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the targets of the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD).


UNESCO-IHP executes MedPartnership Sub-component 1.1 on “Management of Coastal Aquifers and Groundwater”. The long-term objective Sub-component 1.1 was to reverse the trends in over-extraction and degradation in the quality of coastal aquifers. Activities focused on assessing the risks to coastal aquifers and associated uncertainties, the preparation of sub-regional action plans, demonstrations in collaboration with ICZM, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Marine Protected Areas and the identification of the legislative, policy and institutional reforms needed.

Objectives of the Management of Coastal Aquifers and Groundwater sub-component are: 

  • Assessment of the hydrogeological and legal-institutional aspects related to coastal aquifers, involving an updated inventory of coastal aquifer resources and the identification of major risks and uncertainties at specific coastal aquifer systems
  • Vulnerability mapping of aquifers at selected sites with the aim of transferring technology and knowledge to responsible institutions
  • Integration of two case study demonstration projects in a selected river basin and a coastal zone
  • Assessment of the current state of coastal groundwater-dependent ecosystems (wetlands and coastal lagoons)
  • A coastal aquifer supplement to the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis for the Mediterranean Sea (TDA-MED) based on the outcome of the risk and uncertainty assessment and vulnerability mapping
  • Development of sub-regional action plans on coastal aquifers.