ACCOBAMS was concluded as a tool to promote conservation of cetaceans through regional cooperation. After almost 10 years of operations, the Fourth Meeting of Parties decided to develop a long-term Strategy.
A special Working Group was organised to prepare a Strategy proposal, based on the analysis of the ACCOBAMS effectiveness for the 2002 – 2010 period. This Working Group included 24 members: ACCOBAMS Bureau, representatives of the Parties, Partners, Consultants and Secretariat of the Bonn Convention. In addition, 20 participants of the regional workshops, representing Parties and relevant regional agreements, actively contributed to preparation of the strategic document.
The Strategy includes seven main elements: Analysis of present state of ACCOBAMS affairs; ACCOBAMS Mission; Vision; Objectives; Action plan; Implementation and financing; Monitoring and revision of the Strategy.
The Analysis of present state encompasses results of the evaluation of the ACCOBAMS effectiveness and reflections of the Working Groups' members about the Agreement's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). According to the effectiveness analysis, ACCOBAMS has not succeed in ensuring good status of cetacean populations, but it managed to improve regional cooperation; both by linking scientists and facilitating that countries with good human and financial capacities help those with no or weak capacities. The willingness to help countries with less resources and high motivation of some members of the ACCOBAMS structure were identified as the main strengths on which the Strategy should be built upon. On the other hand, insufficient support of the sectoral stakeholders has been identified as the most relevant weakness, followed with weak compliance. The constant demand to address emerging issues and the potential for synergies with existing and operating international agreements are the best opportunities to use, while energy crisis, political instability in some regions and financial crisis are challenges that should be considered in the future.
ACCOBAMS purpose, as expressed in the Mission is to continue to promote and facilitate regional cooperation at all levels, providing best expertise and standards and propelling implementation of all necessary measures for conserving cetaceans in the region.
ACCOBAMS Vision is that cetacean populations in the ACCOBAMS area will be in a favourable conservation status, expressed as healthy populations and habitats with minimised adverse human impacts, with ACCOBAMS having a role of key regional player.
The ACCOBAMS's overall objective and 10 supportive specific objectives were identified and linked to the Aichi targets and targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2010-2020. The overall objective is to improve current conservation status of cetaceans and their habitats in the ACCOBAMS area by 2025, more specifically to achieve that status of at least all the regularly present species listed as endangered (EN) in the IUCN Red List downgraded to at least vulnerable (VU), with support of ACCOBAMS and ensure good environmental status (GES) as defined in the MSFD and according to the Ecosystem approach process implemented by the Mediterranean Action Plan, at least in the areas representing critical habitats. The specific objectives are grouped in two chapters: Management of the Agreement and Cetacean conservation efforts. Good management of the Agreement includes improvement of communications, better involvement of all key stakeholders in ACCOBAMS's operations, ensurance of adequate funding, improvement of compliance and implementation monitoring, as well as application of ACCOBAMS's cetacean conservation standards in the adjacent areas. Cetacean conservation efforts are focused to improvement of knowledge about state of cetaceans; reduction of human pressures, particularly those related to interaction with fisheries and habitat loss and degradation; enhancement of public awareness; improvement of national capacities; and effective conservation of cetacean critical habitats.
The Action plan includes 75 activities: 28 for good management of the Agreement and 47 as part of concrete cetacean conservation efforts. The management of the Agreements' activities address information and communication, existing partnerships, new partnerships, new funding opportunities, compliance to work programme and resolutions, monitoring overall effectiveness, enter into force of already adopted geographical extensions and potential geographical extensions. Cetacean conservation efforts activities are grouped under all relevant themes: cetacean populations estimates and distribution, population structure, monitoring cetaceans status, interaction with fisheries, chemical pollution, anthropogenic noise, ship strikes, cetaceans watching, marine debris, climate change, species conservation plans, captivity related issues, public awareness, functional stranding networks and responses to emergency situations, capacities to use photo ID, undertake aerial surveys and other issues, cetacean conservation postgraduate programmes, protected areas for cetaceans.
The implementation of the Strategy will be based on the operational work programmes for triennial periods, elaborating Strategy Action plan in more details. The Agreement funds (trust fund, voluntary contributions) will remain as the important source of funding, but more emphasis should be given to use of external funding.
Monitoring of the Strategy implementation progress will include regular monitoring of operational work programmes and resolutions implementation. The overall effectiveness will be evaluated after 5 years of implementation and at the end of the Strategy period, as a basis for the Strategy revision.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 November 2015 08:26)