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Enhancing social well being and economic prosperity by reinforcing the eFFECTIVEness of protection and restoration management in Mediterranean MPAs

The recent I Summit on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for the Blue Economy, organised by the EFFECTIVE project coordinator, Centro Tecnológico Naval y del Mar (CTN), illuminated the critical nexus between environmental sustainability, societal well-being, and economic prosperity. Held on February 28, 2024, at the premises of CTN in Murcia, Spain, the summit served as a pivotal platform for exploring innovative strategies to harmonise economic activities with nature conservation efforts. 

Redefining Economic Paradigms 

Rafael Sardá, Senior Scientific Researcher at CSIC and an esteemed partner of the EFFECTIVE project, emphasised the evolving relationship between the economy, society, and the environment. Gone are the days when nature was viewed in isolation; contemporary perspectives underscore the inseparable interconnections between these domains. Sardá outlined that the depletion of natural resources reverberates throughout economies, underscoring the urgent imperative for ecosystem preservation. 

Empowering Digital Technologies for Nature Enhancement 

A highlight of the summit was the session on leveraging digital technologies to fortify nature’s resilience and inform decision-making processes, which was packed with EFFECTIVE partners. Esteemed speakers, including Lars O. Mortensen from DHI, Antonio Novellino and Valeria Pizziol from ETT S.P.A., and Nikolaos A. Kampanis from the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH), shed light on various challenges and solutions in this domain. 

Key discussions revolved around: 

  • Overcoming deployment challenges of underwater robots, including autonomy, scalability, and data integrity. 
  • Harnessing eDNA and enhancing data assimilation techniques for accurate forecasting. 
  • Promoting dialogue and data sharing initiatives among stakeholders to foster collaborative ecosystems. 
  • Addressing data standardisation challenges and advocating for metadata availability to bolster model suitability. 
  • Emphasising the pivotal role of initiatives like EMODnet in facilitating seamless data access and utilisation. 

 Pioneering Initiatives at the Forefront 

The summit also showcased inspiring success stories and initiatives spearheaded by pioneering companies and projects. Through a dedicated brokerage event, stakeholders exchanged ideas, forged partnerships, and explored avenues for collaboration to amplify the impact of nature-based solutions on the blue economy. 

  Embracing Change for a Sustainable Future 

As the curtains drew on the I Summit on NBS for the Blue Economy, it left an indelible mark, galvanising stakeholders to embark on a collective journey towards sustainable development. By harnessing the transformative potential of nature-based solutions and digital innovations, the EFFECTIVE project and its partners reaffirmed their commitment to nurturing thriving ecosystems and resilient economies.