To support the implementation of the European Green Deal, the Biodiversity Strategy and the Nature Restoration Law, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Effectively managed marine protected areas with clear science-based conservation objectives and conservation measures that contribute to the restoration and protection of marine ecosystems and support a shift towards strictly protected areas;
- Protection and restoration of marine habitats and species through strictly protected areas, in particular of seabed habitats, including to preserve their carbon sequestration capacity, ensure spill-over of fish, provide ecosystem functionality and maintain connectivity;
- Enhanced resilience and adaptation potential of coastal and marine ecosystems and improved provision of their ecosystem services, in particular in relation to climate change mitigation/adaptation and to fisheries;
- A blueprint for the designation and management of marine protected areas and/or for shifting their status from “protected” to “strictly protected” including criteria and tools for quantifying their success/ effectiveness in terms of conservation outcomes/results; a blueprint for the identification of ecological corridors as part of a blue Trans-European Nature Network;
- Active support to the Mission’s Digital Ocean and Water Knowledge system through advances in biological, ecosystem and socio-economic knowledge applied to restoration;
- Reinforced EU leadership in international efforts to stop and reverse biodiversity loss, in line with the EU key priorities and international commitments.
Proposals under this topic are expected to show how their activities and results will achieve the Mission objective 1 – Protect and restore marine and freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity, in line with the timeframe of the Mission phases, i.e.: by 2025 for the ‘development and piloting’ phase and 2030 for the ‘deployment and upscaling phase’.
Proposals under this topic will develop and demonstrate protection and restoration solutions to address the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems. Proposals should significantly improve the management of marine protected areas in particular through definition of clear science-based conservation objectives and implementation of the necessary conservation measures to achieve those objectives. Amongst the conservation measures, proposals should entail implementation of passive restoration actions through e.g.: strict protection, either as a newly designated strictly protected areas or as part of the zoning in the existing marine protected areas. Proposals should address the whole marine ecosystem functioning in the designated area, including the seabed and its role in carbon storage and as fish spawning and nursery area. Nevertheless, in well justified cases, proposals may address either specific vulnerable species or habitats that are under strong pressures or that have the most potential to capture and store carbon. Proposals could consider and assess pros and cons of some active restoration activities whereby native habitat building species would be reintroduced in degraded marine and coastal habitats to facilitate the natural recovery.
Proposals should be site-specific, and the scale and range of the protected area for demonstration activities has to be ecologically relevant and impactful. At the same time, proposals should show a significant replication potential.
When identifying and restoring degraded areas, particular attention needs to be paid to ensuring that the ecosystem services these areas can provide are resilient to climate change and that the areas are adequately protected to prevent new degradation. Proposals should develop innovative, efficient and cost-effective tools and methods to measure the conservation results/outcomes in terms of improvements of biodiversity in demonstration areas.
The proposals should also address the creation and long term maintenance of adequate conditions for habitats and/or for the movement of individuals and more generally species and for increasing ecosystems’ capacity to adapt to climate change. Proposals should cover a wide range of ecosystem functions and services using a coherent and systemic approach and avoid the risk of trade-offs of focusing on one or very few ecosystem services at the expense of others. In this respect, seabed protection and restoration should be integrated, including preservation of seabed carbon sequestration capacity. The approach proposed has to show the potential to be up-scaled and reproduced at European level and beyond and develop a scalability plan.
More information: Funding and Tenders