Since 2013 Yad Hanadiv has been pursuing a strategic initiative to promote conservation of the ecosystem in the Mediterranean Sea. After a number of years of attention to governance and planning frameworks, our emphasis has narrowed to designating an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas covering an estimated 20% of Israel’s territorial waters and ensuring adequate resources and professionalism for their effective management. A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a recognized space, managed, and dedicated to achieving the long-term conservation of habitats and biodiversity with associated ecosystem services, economic and cultural values.
Marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean are deteriorating, putting at risk services and benefits crucial to Israelis’ well-being. The lack of institutional mechanisms to govern the marine environment sustainably and detrimental practices – most prominently in fishing, but also gas drilling, sand mining, new transportation and tourism infrastructures, and excess waste and pollution from terrestrial and marine activity – perpetuate this situation. Research and evidence demonstrate that Marine Protected Areas and smaller Marine Reserves within them are often the most effective means to secure and recover marine ecosystems, habitats and biodiversity.
We are partnering with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and several NGOs, capitalizing on their commitment and helping them to achieve designation and public support of seven MPAs at an appropriate pace, essential scientific knowledge, and access to international experience that can build capacity to manage MPAs effectively.
Our objectives are: 1) Designation of an ecologically coherent network of MPAs in seven large areas covering an estimated 20% of Israel’s territorial waters, intelligently positioned to protect important and representative habitats and support connectivity; 2) Effective management and enforcement of this network of MPAs by a competent entity with authority and the wherewithal to implement; 3) Collection and broad dissemination and availability of scientific data, knowledge and expertise to inform effective management of the MPAs; 4) Local communities' support for approving MPAs and subsequent monitoring and enforcement.