Steps toward a shared governance response for achieving Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean Sea

Sergio Cinnirella, Rafael Sardà, Juan Luis Suárez de Vivero, Ruth Brennan, Alberto Barausse, John Icely, Tiziana Luisetti, David March, Carla Murciano, Alice Newton, Tim O'Higgins, Luca Palmeri, Maria Giovanna Palmieri, Pascal Raux, Sian Rees, Joan Albaigés, Nicola Pirrone, Kerry Turner

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24 Citations (Scopus)


The Mediterranean region is of fundamental importance to Europe given its strategic position. The responsibility for its overall ecosystem integrity is shared by European Union Member States (EU-MS) and other Mediterranean countries. A juxtaposition of overlapping governance instruments occurred recently in the region, with the implementation of both the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) for EU-MS and the Ecosystem Approach Strategy (ECAP) for all Mediterranean countries, including EU-MS. Both MSFD and ECAP are structured around vision-driven processes to achieve Good Environmental Status and a Healthy Environment, respectively. These processes have clear ecosystem-based, integrated policy objectives to guarantee the preservation and integrity of Mediterranean marine ecosystem goods and services. However, adoption of these instruments, especially those related to the new EUMS directives on marine policy, could result in a governance gap in addition to the well-known economic gap between the EU and the non-EU political blocs. We identify two complementary requirements for effective implementation of both MSFD and ECAP that could work together to reduce this gap, to ensure a better alignment between MSFD and ECAP and better planning for stakeholder engagement. These are key issues for the future success of these instruments in a Mediterranean region where discrepancies between societal and ecological objectives may pose a challenge to these processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ecosystem approach
  • Environmental status
  • Governance
  • Legislation implementation
  • Marine environment
  • Mediterranean
  • Shared vision

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