The Cyclades has always been a network. At the nexus of the Mediterranean, and at the very heart of Greek history and life, it is imperative that the people of the Cyclades remain interconnected with one another as they have been for millenia. In the same way, the very thing that equally separates and connects all communities in the Cyclades is the sea, and therefore cooperation around marine protection is an imperative challenge we must face.
As such, we identified in 2018 that supporting the Consortium of the Stakeholders was a key step in managing and governing the Gyaros Marine Protected Area (MPA), including the islands adjacent to Gyaros, Syros and Andros.
The CPF supported the Consortium of the Stakeholders, organised by WWF Greece, which continues to pave the way for incorporating the conservation measures and zoning proposed by the Consortium into tangible management plans for Gyaros MPA approved by the Cyclades management body.
From 2018-2019, the CPF contributed to keeping the dialogue between stakeholders alive and facilitating cooperation. We recognised that good management and trust were key elements in ensuring the protection of marine protected areas. The Consortium contributed their advisory services to the new Management Body of Cyclades Protected Areas, aiming to support the effective and multi-participatory management of the new Gyaros marine protected area.
What does the project deliver in practice?
In July 2019, Gyaros, an uninhabited Natura site island that hosts roughly 12% of the world’s population of the Mediterranean seal Monachus monachus, was formally designated as the 1st marine protected area in the Cyclades. This important milestone was achieved as a result of an integrated and wide participatory process which started back in 2013 by WWF Greece and other strategic local and national stakeholders under the LIFE CYCLADES program.
The WWF Greece field team organised three meetings that took place in Syros, built the capacity of its members (consisting of 15 different national, regional and local stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment & Energy), facilitated the participatory process and encouraged links with the new Cyclades management body.
We learned important lessons about network management, which inspired our own, CPF-led network Program a number of years later: Cycladoscope.
A bit about the organisation
At the core of the CYCLADES LIFE project is the idea to diffuse the extensive knowledge that is gained through research and knowledge-exchange to local communities, fellow scientists, and key authorities who can all lead the charge of change. They aim to motivate active participation in protecting Marine Protected Areas.
The fundamental goal is the institutional establishment and protection of the broader area, following the adoption and application of sufficient measures that will take into consideration the welfare of the unique marine environment, the biodiversity and the local community too.