SEA-Med Project launched – New business ideas for Lastovo and Telascica nature parks

Project SEA-Med Croatia is a continuation of successfully conducted MedPAN South pilot project, in which Sunce and partners developed management plans for the three marine protected areas (National Park Brijuni and two nature parks, Lastovo Archipelago and Telascica) and through a series of trainings raised the capacity of staff of all five public institutions for management of marine protected areas (the ones already mentioned plus national parks Kornati and Mljet).
Goal of the Project SEA-Med in Croatia is development of sustainable economical activities in nature parks Telascica and Lastovo Archipelago. Specifically, project aims at implementing the Management Plans of Lastovo Archipelago and Telascica nature parks; developing a sustainable tourism plan to advance sustainable tourism practices, promote nature-based tourism initiative, and identify MPA financing mechanisms; as well as promote sustainable fisheries
Project SEA-Med Croatia is coordinated and implemented by Association Sunce, in partnership with World Wide Fond for Nature (WWF), Ministry of Environmental and Nature ProtectionMinistry of TourismState Institute for Nature Protection and public institutions for management of nature parks Telascica and Lastovo Archipelago. 
Project duration: 1st April 2014 – 28th February 2017
Budget: 324.000,00 €
The SEA-Med project will combine different approaches, tailored to local needs and contexts, including:
Building the capacity of MPA practitioners to plan and manage their MPAs and resources within, and creating a group of skilled trainers that can create sustainability in building capacity for MPAs;
Enabling participatory planning and stakeholder engagement to MPA management, promoting inter-sector conflicts resolution and securing ownership and buy-in from local stakeholders; creating engagement and cooperation between businesses and the MPA management;
Identifying and assessing feasible financing mechanisms at site level, national level and regional level; that can alleviate MPA dependency on public funding;
Developing communication initiatives, at site, national and regional level, focused on advertising MPAs as valuable tools to deliver social and economic benefits in additional to their conservation value.
Project objectives:

1. Through a step-by-step, multi-stakeholder approach, develop and implement a tourism management plan for Lastovo Islands and Telascica Nature Parks including a financial/business plan, a monitoring plan and a communication, education and marketing/outreach program – to adopt best practices and identified mechanisms to create financial sustainability.

2. Enhance the appreciation, support and understanding of general public, decision-makers and investors about the ecological, social and economic values of the Lastovo Islands and Telascica Nature Parks.

3. Ensure that the conservation communities (MPA practitioners, NGOs and public administrations/authorities) have the capacity, skills and tools to actively engage in the planning and development of sustainable economic activities in Lastovo Islands and Telascica Nature Parks.

Project SEA-Med Croatia is a part of a wider regional Project SEA-Med – The “Sustainable Economic Activities in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas”, led by WWF-MedPO. Regional project will support 8 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in 6 Mediterranean countries (Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey) to complete their pioneer phase and advance towards self-sufficiency, which includes committed and engaged stakeholders, management plans that address key issues (fisheries and tourism), and financing mechanisms to secure long-term operations and sustainability.

The project will also support NGOs and MPA authorities to ensure that political commitment is maintained, that MPA management, monitoring and enforcement are appropriate, and that adequate funding and staff is allocated to manage coastal and marine resources.