Biogeographical seminar for the Atlantic and the Macaronesian marine regions
Hosted jointly by the European Commission’s DG Environment and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and organised by a consortium made of CEEweb for Biodiversity and NatureBureau, the biogeographical seminar for the Atlantic and the Macaronesian marine regions took place between 11-13 October, in Malahide, north Dublin, Ireland
This three-day event was well attended, with around 40 participants, including government officials from almost all the Member States of the region (excluding Portugal) and representatives of a number of national and European NGOs.
The event was opened by Niall O’ Donnchú, Director General of the NPWS and Andrea Vettori, Head of the Nature Conservation Unit at the EU’s DG Environment, while Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries addressed the audience via video message.
The first day of the meeting focused on the pledges, with presentations about the scientific basis for identifying MPAs, good examples of projects that contribute to meeting the conservation status improvement target, and several presentations from Member States outlining their countries’ pledges and approaches to meeting both targets. This was followed by a discussion among participants on the challenges and ways to overcome them to ensure countries meet the targets by 2030. Darragh O’Brien, TD Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, joined the gala dinner where he reaffirmed in a pledge the commitment made by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan, to protect 30% of Ireland’s marine areas by 2030, and highlighted Ireland’s significant progress in meeting the EU BDS targets to protect marine areas.
The second day of the event was dedicated to a field trip to a number of marine Natura 2000 sites and to the Dublin Bay UNESCO Biosphere, where local rangers could talk to the participants about the biodiversity values, pressures and issues they face in their management of these areas.
The final day of the seminar featured three thematic sessions: the role of Natura 2000 sites and other MPAs in marine restoration, strict protection, and renewable energy and marine conservation. Each of these included an introductory presentation of the policy context and a good case study to serve as an inspiration for discussions, which followed in groups. The event was closed by Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, who highlighted the importance of Natura 2000 sites and cross-sectoral collaboration for biodiversity protection.
See images and more on the for the Biogeographical Process for Marine Areas.