Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Socioeconomic, Policy and Civil Society Context


Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot


There is an evident north-south fracture in the Mediterranean Basin, with an economically rich and ageing northern Mediterranean rim mostly comprised of EU member states, and the younger and poorer southern and eastern rims comprised of Arab states. There are considerable economic disparities between Mediterranean EU countries (average Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, per capita $20,800 ) and North Africa (average GDP per capita $2,100), and a significant migration flow from the poorer south to the richer north.

The northern Mediterranean is characterized by urban and industrialized societies with high-medium income levels, low population growth, increased and intensive agricultural production and decreased rural population, expanding urban concentration and increased tourism in rural areas. On the other hand, countries in the southern and eastern Mediterranean have low-medium income levels, high population growth rates, relatively high population density in rural areas, and many populations still dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods; including some silvopastoral activities that are vital for rural inhabitants. There is a dominance of state ownership of forest resources, and a pattern of rapid natural resources degradation due to destructive interventions. Urban expansion is, however, increasing, and tourism pressure is very high, especially in coastal zones.

The main socioeconomic figures describing the Mediterranean Basin are:
  • 7 percent of the world’s population (approximately 450 million inhabitants). Populations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean have doubled over 30 years, to reach 234 million inhabitants, and are expected to increase by additional 70-120 million by 2030. On the North rim, the population has only grown by 14 percent over the same period, and is expected to increase by a mere 5 million by 2030.
  • 32 percent of international tourism, with a four-fold increase between 1970 and 2000.
  • 13 percent of world’s GDP with a decreasing trend.
  • Development patterns still largely dependent on environmental resources, especially with regard to tourism but this also results in a significant economic migration flow from the southern to northern Mediterranean because of European-based tourism companies.

The Mediterranean Basin experienced an accelerated globalization during the last few decades, following the collapse of the “two-bloc system” (West vs. Soviet blocs) that also fractured the region. International cooperation policies and economic reforms have been focused essentially on reducing state involvement, trade liberalization (without, however, assessing the impacts on sustainable development), withdrawing subsidies and privatization.

This globalization happened not without several points of conflict or instability, some leading to wars (for example, Algeria, the Balkans and the Near East). Politically, in the northern Mediterranean the EU brought peace, democracy and economic reforms, community funds, free circulation of people, social market economy, and economic and environmental convergence. However, this regional integration model has no equivalent in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, in spite of very restrictive EU migratory policies (imposing strict visa requirements for third-country citizens to enter the EU), migratory flows remain significant and most unlikelyto dry up.

Several initiatives have been developed to bring convergence and cooperation within the region — perhaps the biggest one being the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (1995), aiming to establish a common area of "stability and shared prosperity." However, Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, which has been integrated into the new European Neighborhood Policy since 2003, is still lacking resources, mutual commitment and incentives. Economically, the Mediterranean Basin is a declining region — particularly in the southern Mediterranean, where, for example, the relative share in international financing is decreasing sharply (10 percent in the 1990s versus 17 percent in the 1970s).

For terrestrial ecosystems, the agricultural lands, evergreen woodlands and maquis that dominate the region today are the result of anthropogenic disturbances that have developed over several millennia. In addition, the marine and coastal resources of the region are vast and the sea has had a huge influence on the socioeconomic development of the region. Therefore, a solid understanding of the social and economic context for the Mediterranean Basin Hotspot is essential to design a well-targeted ecosystem profile.

Social Context to the Mediterranean Basin Hotspot

Introduction and Historical Context
The Mediterranean Basin has experienced a long history of human settlement and landscape modification that first began about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. The first human civilizations (the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Nile Valley) occupied parts of the eastern Mediterranean Basin from around the 4th millennium B.C. The mild climates fostered the growth of major urban centers, vast agricultural zones and dense human populations, which gradually expanded west to other countries in the region. Historically, Mediterranean forests were burned to make way for agriculture, the intensification of which has particularly affected European countries. Conflicts between different cultures over access to land and resources were common throughout the history of the region. Such human developments and migratory patterns have distinctly altered the characteristic vegetation of the region, particularly over the last 4,000 years.

The Mediterranean Sea gradually became both the central sea of Western civilization and the trade link to the riches of the east through the 1st millennium AD, and the second half of the 2nd millennium A.D. The sea provided a means for trading, colonization and war, and became the basis of life (via fishing and the gathering of other seafood) for numerous communities throughout the ages.

During the 16th century, the center of gravity for economic power shifted to the Atlantic coast of Europe, and then the Americas. However, the region has continued to be densely populated and the enclosed nature of the sea has increased the sensitivity of the region to human pressures on the environment. Over the last 50 years, human activities have had an increasingly serious impact on the region due to continued population expansion, urban growth, tourism, intensive agriculture and pollution, the disposal of industrial and domestic waste and desertification.

Key Social and Demographic Trends

The Mediterranean Basin is characterized by a multitude of different languages, the most common official language being Arabic. Economic and social ties throughout the basin have persisted, even through upheavals such as the Muslim ascendancy during the early Middle Ages, and those ties have been mediated by and reflected in the diversity of languages of the Mediterranean. Fifteen main languages are spoken around the region: Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Catalan, Croatian, English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Macedonian, Maltese, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish, Serbian and Turkish. Arabic and French are the dominating languages, even though English is increasingly becoming the default international language in the region.

Regional and National Demographics
The population of all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea in 2009 reached between 450 and 500 million people, depending on the source. This represents about 7 percent of the world population. Table 4 shows a selection of demographic indicators for Mediterranean Basin countries, which include the total land area, total population, population density and the births and deaths/1,000 people.

More than half of the total population for the Mediterranean Basin is accounted for by just four countries: Egypt, France, Italy and Turkey. The region is densely populated with 26 countries exceeding the world average of 49 people/square kilometer. There are also vast differences between countries. Israel (345 people/square kilometer), Lebanon (373 people/ square kilometer) and Malta (1,310 people/square kilometer) are the most densely populated countries of the region, while Algeria (15 people/square kilometer) and Libya (4 people/square kilometer) are extremely sparsely populated – see Table 4 for details.

Table 4. Demographic Indicators (estimates for 2009; Source: The Population Reference Bureau, 2009 (www.prb.org) (except for Gibraltar and Vatican City: Internet World Stats, 2008, www.internetworldstats.com)
Country Area sq/km Population (million) Population density people/km2 Births/1,000 people Deaths/1,000 people
Albania 28,748 3.2 111 10 5
Algeria 2,381,741 35.4 15 23 4
Bosnia and Herzegovina 51,197 3.8 75 9 9
Bulgaria 110,912 7.6 68 10 14
Cape Verde 4,033 0.51 126 26 5
Croatia 56,538 4.4 78 10 12
Cyprus 9,251 1.1 116 12 7
Egypt 1,001,449 79 79 25 6
France 551,500 63 114 13 9
FYROM 25,713 2.1 80 11 9
Gibraltar 7 0.029 4,881 13.7 7.8
Greece 131,957 11.3 85 10 10
Iraq 438,317 30 69 32 9
Israel 22,145 7.6 345 21 5
Italy 301,318 60.3 200 10 10
Jordan 89,342 6 66 28 4
Lebanon 10,400 3.87 373 20 5
Libya 1,759,540 6.28 4 24 4
Malta 316 0.4 1,310 9 8
Monaco 1 0.035 35,382 7 6
Montenegro 13,812 0.628 45 13 10
Morocco 446,550 31.49 71 21 6
Portugal 91,982 10.6 116 10 10
San Marino 61 0.03 515 10 7
Slovenia 20,256 2.0 101 11 9
Spain 505,992 46.9 93 11 8
Syria 185,180 21.9 118 28 3
Tunisia 163,610 10.4 64 17 6
Turkey 783,562 74.8 95 18 6
Vatican City 0.44 0.0005 NA NA NA

In Macaronesia, most archipelagos were uninhabited before the European colonizers arrived in the 15th century. Today all those archipelagos have high population density (200 inhabitants/square kilometer on average), mostly settled around the coasts, since these islands, which are volcanic in origin, have forbidding mountainous landscapes.

Table 5 provides figures for the average annual projected population rate of change, and provides indicators for the rate of urbanization (projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population) and the percentages of the population living in rural and urban areas.

Mediterranean Basin countries with the largest rural populations include: Egypt (57 percent live in rural areas), Albania (51 percent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (54 percent), Slovenia (52 percent), Morocco (44 percent), Croatia (44 percent), Portugal (45 percent) and Montenegro (36 percent). Those with the highest urban populations include Malta (94 percent), Israel (92 percent) and Lebanon (87 percent). Populations across the region are predominantly urban.

The highest rates of urbanization are in the southern Mediterranean Basin countries of Jordan (3.1 percent), Algeria (2.5 percent), Libya (2.2 percent) and Turkey (2 percent) (if we do not consider the small city states). This is likely to pose considerable risks to biodiversity, particularly in coastal areas. Montenegro and Slovenia have negative rates at –0.8 and –0.6 respectively. Cape Verde has a low population growth rate, but an extremely high rate of urbanization.

Migratory Patterns
Table 6 shows the net migration rate for selected Mediterranean Basin countries. It illustrates that Cape Verde (-5/1,000) and Iraq have the most people leaving the country (-4/1,000), as opposed to entering it. Other countries with a negative net migration rate include Morocco (-3/1,000), Albania (-0/1,000) and Montenegro (-1/1,000). Countries with the highest number of migrant arrivals include Cyprus (9/1,000), Italy (8/1,000), Portugal (2/1,000), Greece (4/1,000) and Malta (5/1,000). These all greatly exceed the EU average of 3/1,000.

Table 5. Projected Population rate of change and rural-urban distribution for Mediterranean Basin countries (estimates for 2009; Source: Population Reference Bureau 2009)
Country Population rate of change (%) Rate of Urbanization % annual Percentage rural: urban
Albania -11 1.9 51:49
Algeria 43 2.5 37:63
Bosnia and Herzegovina -20 1.4 54:46
Bulgaria -22 -0.3 29:71
Cape Verde 53 3.5 41:59
Croatia -13 0.4 44:56
Cyprus 0 1.3 38:62
Egypt 56 1.8 57:43
France 12 0.8 23:77
FYROM -9 0.8 35:65
Gibraltar N/A N/A N/A
Greece 2 0.6 40:60
Iraq 106 1.7 33:67
Israel 49 1.7 8:92
Italy 2 0.4 32:68
Jordan 62 3.1 27:83
Lebanon 37 1.2 13:87
Libya 56 2.2 23:77
Malta -3 0.7 6:94
Monaco 7 0.3 0:100
Montenegro -4 -0.8 36:64
Morocco 35 1.8 44:56
Portugal 0 1.4 45:55
San Marino 11 0.9 16:84
Slovenia -8 -0.6 52:48
Spain -7 1.0 23:77
Syria 68 3.1 46:54
Tunisia 34 1.7 33:66
Turkey 30 2.0 37:63
Vatican City N/A N/A 0:100

Table 6. Net migration rates for Mediterranean Basin countries (Source: Population Reference Bureau: 2009 World Population Data Sheet)
Country Net migration rate (Migrants/1,000 population)
Albania -0
Algeria -1
Bosnia and Herzegovina -0
Bulgaria -0
Cape Verde -5
Croatia 2
Cyprus 9
Egypt -1
France 1
Gibraltar N/A
Greece 4
Iraq -4
Israel 1
Italy 8
Lebanon -1
Libya 1
Malta 5
Monaco 0
Montenegro -1
Morocco -3
Portugal 2
San Marino 12
Slovenia 9
Spain 8
Syria 8
Tunisia 0
Turkey 0
Vatican City NA

Ethnicity and Religion
The Mediterranean Sea is evenly divided between countries that follow either Christian (generally in the northwest of the region) or Islamic (generally in the south and east of the region) faiths. At many times over the course of human interactions in the region, the two religions have competed for the islands of the Mediterranean Basin, with Crete, Cyprus, Malta and Sicily becoming regular battlegrounds.

According to the Mediterranean Information Office for the Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development, there is a large diversity not only in the degree of application of education and the way that it is practiced, but also in the philosophy and the regulatory and operational framework of the educational systems in general in the various Mediterranean countries. The northern Mediterranean Basin countries have a much higher level of literacy than their southern counterparts. Highest literacy levels are experienced in Albania, Croatia, France and Slovenia. The lowest levels are experienced in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

With the exception of France and Malta, literacy levels are lower for women than for men across the region. The greatest variations are experienced in those countries with the lowest overall literacy levels. Indeed, in Morocco, only 39.6 percent of females over age 15 can read or write — the lowest percentage in the region.

In the last 20 years the general public awareness on the need to preserve nature and the environment has increased noticeably. This is a consequence of the many awareness campaigns developed and implemented, but also of the international environmental conventions and policies.

Summary of Social Context: Implications for Biodiversity Conservation
The countries in the northern Mediterranean region are very different from those of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, most of the latter being economically less developed than the former. Population growth poses a potential threat to the environment, particularly in Northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East, such as Syria, where rates are the highest. In addition, increasing urbanization will require more and more water supplies to cities and considerable investments in water supply and treatment.

Constantly increasing population pressure is exacerbated by tourism. The mild climate and the natural and cultural heritage attract huge numbers of tourists. Tourism is seasonally concentrated in the coastal zones, particularly on the shores of the north-western basin. In 1996, 135 million tourists visited the area, but this is expected to rise to 235 million to 300 million per year, by 2012. The population living on the shores of the Mediterranean Basin is approximately 143 million, which significantly impacts the marine ecosystem and surrounding coastal areas. Future conservation efforts need to address population pressures on the land, especially in the coastal zone, issues of infrastructure impact and connectivity, and above all, how to maintain traditional rural livelihoods in a way that benefits biodiversity, particularly where urbanization is high.

The socioeconomic implications of climate change in the region are numerous. The number of heat waves is likely to increase and will directly affect the human populations of the Mediterranean Basin. A rise in temperatures could also facilitate the spread of tropical diseases, especially insect-borne diseases that could multiply rapidly. An increase in dust-charged winds from the Sahara could increase the incidence of allergies and respiratory problems. A decrease in fish stocks would have an impact on the fishing industry. Aquaculture, a recent activity in the region, could also be affected by a change in climate conditions. Finally, and most importantly, increased warming could seriously affect water resources, sanitation and the tourist industry.

Economic Context to the Mediterranean Basin Hotspot

Introduction to Mediterranean Basin Country Economies
Historically, trade was one of the main driving forces behind the development of Mediterranean Basin societies and cultures. The coastline of approximately 4,000 kilometers proved no hindrance for the flourishing of an incipient trade-based economy. Today, the economics of the region vary considerably between countries of southern Europe, and those of Northern Africa and the Middle East. The latter tend to be more involved in agricultural and industrial activities, whereas the former are more involved in tertiary or service-based activities.

Key Economic Trends
There are some significant economic differences between the countries, again, following a pattern between those countries of the EU at one end of the spectrum, and those of Africa and the Middle East at the other. Below figures for 2008 are presented (The World Bank Databank 2009).

Gross Domestic Product: GDP is highest in France ($2.9 trillion), Italy ($2 trillion) and Spain ($1.6 trillion) and lowest in the smallest countries: Montenegro ($5 billion), Malta N/A, Albania ($12.3 billion) and Cyprus ($25 billion). The EU average is $13.5 trillion and only three countries in the region approach this number. These figures are better interpreted using per capita figures, which consider the size of the country in terms of its population. Cyprus, for example, is in the bottom five for the region for GDP, but in the top five for GDP per capita.

Gross Domestic Product per capita: GDP per capita is highest in France ($44,508), the only country in the Mediterranean region that exceeds the EU average of $41,654. Other countries with high GDP figures per capita include Spain ($35,215), Greece ($32,000), Italy ($38,492), Cyprus ($31,410) and Israel ($27,652). The lowest figures in the region are in Morocco ($2,769), Syria ($2,682) and Egypt ($1,991). There is a clear divide between those countries in the northern part of the region (richer) and those in the south (poorer).

Inflation rate: Inflation in countries of the Mediterranean Basin is high in comparison to the EU average of 3.5 percent. Only five countries have inflation levels below this. Albania, Italy and Montenegro run at 3.4 percent, Portugal at 3 percent, and France at 2.8 percent. Jordan (15.5 percent), Lebanon (8 percent) and Libya (10.4 percent) have the highest inflation levels in the region. Cape Verde has a relatively low inflation (7 percent) but a low GDP per capita.

Energy and Power Production
In the Mediterranean Basin, demand for primary commercial energy more than doubled in riparian countries between 1970 and 2000 (Plan Bleu 2006).

Only four countries in the region, namely in the southern/eastern shore of the Mediterranean Basin (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria), are hydrocarbon exporters, and export 50 percent of their oil and 90 percent of their gas to other Mediterranean Basin countries, contributing significantly to foreign exchange earnings. All the other countries are net energy importers; there is, however, very little, almost residual, oil and gas drilling within the boundaries of the hotspot. The Mediterranean Basin relies heavily on petroleum for its energy (48 percent in total, 2000 data), although some countries have many coal-fired and hydropower plants.

Fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) dominate supply and account for more than 75 percent of consumption in the north, and 96 percent in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Growth in natural gas consumption is relatively strong. Fossil energy is expected to account for 87 percent of total energy demand in 2025, nuclear only 9 percent (France, Spain and Slovenia), and renewable energy only 4 percent (biomass excluded), despite a four-fold increase over 25 years. Wind and solar energy are seen as potential alternative sources of energy, and many projects are now cropping up across the hotspot.

Access to Water Resources
On its own, the Mediterranean Basin represents 60 percent of the “water poor” (less than 1,000 cubic meters per capita per year) world population, or 162 million people, mostly living in the south and east, but only 7 percent of the world’s total population. On the measure of water footprint per person, five of the top 10 worst nations in the world are the Mediterranean Basin countries of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The Mediterranean Basin Hotspot is clearly an area facing greater and greater water stress (WWF 2008). Since water is such an important —and scarce — feature in this region, and one that limits and conditions humans and nature. In Appendix 4 there is a brief overview of the role of water across Mediterranean countries, analyzing the availability of water at the national level, and which countries are likely to suffer from the most water shortages in the future. Tourism seasonality (concentrated in the summer time, when water is at its minimum) and type (often based on large resorts and thematic parks or golf courses) do contribute significantly to this situation.

Summary of the Economic Context
As with the social analysis, the economies of Mediterranean Basin countries can be broadly split into two separate clusters: those in the northern Mediterranean belonging to the EU, and those in the southern portion of the hotspot, in Africa and the Middle East. The latter economies generally have lower GDPs per capita; higher inflation; a greater proportion of their population living in rural areas and employed in agriculture; and more fragmented and undeveloped infrastructures.

The demand for and the availability of energy resources, and access to and availability of water across the region, do not follow the same distinct pattern between countries in the north and south of the region. Indeed, all countries to a greater or lesser extent show some degree of water stress, whether this is access to or distribution of water across the country, throughout the year. In the Mediterranean Basin, climate conditions have led people to learn to plan and manage their water since the earliest times. However, the demographic growth and social and economic changes of the 20th and early 21st centuries have created a new situation. In the degraded environment, water —a rare resource — is under threat and has become a factor limiting development in many ways. In addition, as populations continue to increase in the region, there is more and more demand on energy resources. Some countries are exploring the power of the Mediterranean sun and wind in producing energy through the development of alternative energy technologies, but most attempts to do this are in their infancy.

One significant economic sector in the Mediterranean Basin is tourism. Development for tourism has placed significant pressure on the region's coastal ecosystems. The shores of the Mediterranean Basin are the biggest large-scale tourist attraction in the world, with 220 million visitors arriving per year, a figure that is expected to double by 2020. France alone receives 75 million tourists per annum, and the sector provides 15 percent of total GDP in Greece. In Egypt, international tourist arrivals reached 7.5 million in 2004 and according to the WTO vision, in 2020 Egypt would be the largest tourist-receiving country in the African Continent. The construction of tourism related infrastructure, and the direct impacts of people remains a key threat to coastal areas in Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, as well as Mediterranean islands such as the Balearics, Corsica, Crete, Sardinia, Sicily and the Atlantic island archipelagos of the Canaries and Madeira Islands.

Because of all these patterns and pressures, the ecological footprint of each Mediterranean Basin country is exceeding its potential for renewal. The ecological footprint compares human demand with planet Earth’s ecological capacity to regenerate. Table 7 shows figures for the region.

Table 7. Ecological Footprint (and Deficit) of Mediterranean Countries (Ewing et al. 2009)
Country Ecological footprint (Global hectares/person) Ecological deficit (Global hectares/person)
Albania 2.6 -1.6
Algeria 1.9 -1.1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.4 -1.7
Bulgaria 3.3 -0.6
Cape Verde NA NA
Croatia 3.3 -1.5
Cyprus 4 -3.5
Egypt 1.4 -1.1
France 4.6 -1.8
Gibraltar NA NA
Greece 5.8 -4.4
Iraq 1.3 -1.1
Israel 5.4 -5.1
Italy 4.9 -3.9
Jordan 2.0 -1.8
Lebanon 2.1 -1.8
Libya 4.3 -3.3
Malta 3.9 -3.3
Monaco NA NA
Montenegro 2.6 -1
Morocco 1.3 -0.4
Portugal 4.4 -3.2
San Marino NA NA
Slovenia 3.9 -1.5
Spain 5.6 -4.3
Syria 1.6 -0.7
Tunisia 1.9 -0.7
Turkey 2.7 -1.1
Vatican City NA NA

All the Mediterranean Basin countries had an ecological deficit in 2003. This means that the environmental capacity of the region is used up more quickly than it is renewed. The ecological footprint per capita has gone down since 1996 in all of the Mediterranean Basin countries except Croatia.

In 2004, the overall ecological footprint in the Mediterranean Basin countries reached 1.3 billion hectares, almost 10 percent of the worldwide footprint, while the Mediterranean population is around 7 percent of the world population. The Mediterranean Basin ecological footprint (3 hectares per inhabitant) is thus higher than the world’s average ecological footprint (2.2 hectares per inhabitant). It is becoming increasingly clear that current economic development trends in the Mediterranean are not sustainable.

The Mediterranean Basin’s ecological deficit (1.7 hectares/inhabitant) is more than four times greater than the world’s ecological deficit (0.4 hectares/inhabitant). The ecological footprint of the northern Mediterranean countries (4.7 hectares/inhabitant) is almost three times higher than that of the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries. Their ecological deficit (2.9 hectares/inhabitant) is very high (60 percent of their footprint, more than 3.6 times the deficit of the south and eastern Mediterranean countries). The gaps between countries in terms of ecological footprint per unit of GDP are, however, reversed. Italy, for example, consumes 162 hectares per million dollars and France consumes 213 hectares per million dollars, while Lebanon consumes 587 hectares per million dollars. Tunisia is particularly thrifty with 226 hectares per million dollars.

Institutional Frameworks for Environmental Management

Government Frameworks
All the countries have a national ministry with competencies on biodiversity issues, although few have more complex governance with different entities at different levels that are also competent. The most complex countries are Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain. Portugal has also a decentralized government for the overseas territories of Madeira and Azores. Croatia has Public Institution for the Management of the Protected Areas at the county level, responsible for the management of regional and local protected sites. The rest of the countries have a centralized structure, simple in some countries (such as Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, Monaco, Palestinian territories and Syria) or with regional delegations in others (for example, France and Libya).

Some countries have specific agencies or institutes responsible for protected sites, species and/or data management, acting as the executive branch of the competent ministry. Some examples are Albania (Agency of Environment and Forestry), Croatia (State Institute for Nature Protection and Croatian Environmental Agency), Slovenia (Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, and The Environmental Agency), Montenegro (Agency of Environmental Protection), Algeria (Agence Nationale de la Conservation de la Nature) and Egypt (Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency). France, apart from the regional delegations, has several relevant agencies dealing with coastal ecosystems (Conservatoire du Littoral), management of regional parks (Fédération des Parcs Naturels Régionaux de France), public forests (Office National des Forêts) and wildlife and hunting (Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage). Similar structure is also working in Italy, with the Ministero dell'Ambiente e Della Tutela Del Territorio e del Mare as the competent national authority, with a branch for wildlife conservation (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale). In Turkey, under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry there are two institutions for protected areas: General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks (for National Parks, Strict Nature Reserves, Nature Monuments, and Wildlife Reserves), and Environmental Protection Agency for Special Areas (for Special Environmental Protection Areas).

Governments in the hotspot have devoted much effort to the designation and management of protected areas for conservation, tourism and recreation. While these efforts have helped to advance conservation locally, they do not address strategically targeted on-the-ground priorities. As a consequence, there are significant gaps in terms of protected area coverage. Weakness in protected area management and insufficient enforcement of laws is another concern. Furthermore, governmental initiatives in different parts of the Mediterranean Basin Hotspot have often inadequately mobilized civil society participation, expertise and support.


Document: Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot Ecosystem Profile, July 2010
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