Hi there! I’m Chiara, currently volunteering in Malaga, Spain, under the Interreg Mediterranean Biodiversity protection project.
As one of the partners of this community, the team of the European Topic Center of the University of Malaga is hosting me in supporting the activities related to Biodiversity Protection Community, the horizontal project that aims to protect and promote biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean through transboundary cooperation.
“Transboundary” that’s a BIG word, right? Thanks to my time here, I had the chance to understand the meaning of this concept.
As a start, cooperation is fundamental to achieving the arduous goal of enhancing biodiversity protection in the Mediterranean. Engaging partners, institutions, and stakeholders from different states and communities in Europe makes this project effective and raises the parts’ commitment.
That’s why so far, the most challenging task for me has been understanding and placing on the map the different partners involved in this big horizontal project. I had the chance to share and meet various organizations and members of universities, scientists, researchers, branches of governmental institutions, and European associations.
Adopting a transboundary approach means that all partners collaborate regardless of national or administrative borders to protect habitats and ecosystems, monitor the quality of the natural environment, and share practices or knowledge.
This looks pretty theoretical, though, right? The key to making this approach effective is to involve as many parts of society as possible. One good example is what is called “citizen science.”: many modular projects have developed a system to engage citizens and fishers to share their knowledge with scientists to promote their commitment and raise awareness in biodiversity protection.
Who will benefit from all of this? Achieving better conservation and protection of our sea and coasts is beneficial for everyone interacting with marine ecosystems. Furthermore, it improves the quality of life and biodiversity, bringing better integration with human activities and profits for the economy related to the Mediterranean area.
This experience has been highly educational so far as I can interact with a broad collaborative community whose goal is to better cooperate in this area of Europe.
Chiara, IVY Project Partner at ETC- UMA