Grupo de investigación RNM-177
Universidad de Sevilla
PAIDI. Junta de Andalucía

Suarez de Vivero, JL. Steps toward a shared governance response for achieving Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean Sea. Ecology and Society. 2014. 19.


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 EU-MS 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.