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Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC)


The Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) is one the six Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UN Environment/MAP). Its mains scope is supporting the Mediterranean countries in improving the sustainable management of their coasts, in specifically through the ratification and implementation of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean. Together with the Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MEDU) and other Regional Activity Centres, PAP/RAC is actively working to promote MSP within the Barcelona Convention system, and in particular as closely integrated to ICZM. Moreover, MSP is seen as one of the key tools for the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in the Mediterranean Basin. Transboundary cooperation involving a wide number of actors of the UN Environment/MAP system, other international organisations and all Mediterranean countries is fundamental for the achievement of ICZM and MSP-related goals.

Since 1977

Application in MSP:
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Questions this practice may help answer

  • How is MSP been integrated within the Barcelona Convention system?
  • How countries are cooperating in the Mediterranean for advancing ICZM, including links to MSP?

Implementation Context

The Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), established in 1977, is one of the six Regional Activity Centres of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), itself part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment). Twenty one Mediterranean countries as well as the European Union make up the MAP, and their common objective is the creation of a healthier Mediterranean environment, resting on the principle of sustainable development. 

PAP/RAC Logo. Source: PAP/RAC website


Aspects / Objectives 

PAP/RAC’s mission is to support Mediterranean countries on their path towards sustainable coastal development, specifically in the ratification and implementation of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the Mediterranean, as well as the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD).

The ICZM Protocol was signed in Madrid, on the 21stof January 2008. Following the ratification by six countries, on 24 March 2011, the Protocol entered into force. The Action Plan for the implementation of the Protocol 2012-2019 was adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention on the Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Paris from 8 to 10 February 2012.

Cover page of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean


PAP/RAC is coordinated by UN Environment through the Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MEDU). Its work is integrated with the one of the other MAP Regional Activity Centres (RACs), the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD), other UN Agencies and International Organizations. Based in Split with the support of the Government of Croatia, PAP/RAC multidisciplinary experts co-operate with the PAP/RAC National Focal Points (NFPs) appointed by the national governments of all Mediterranean countries and the EU, as well as with international and national institutions and a network of external experts.

Coordination with other RACs is particularly relevant, as ICZM can support the implementation of the goals of other Protocols to the Barcelona Convention and activities of other RACs. On the other way around, other RACs can contribute to specific aspects of ICZM. PAP/RAC is focused on the sustainable development of the Mediterranean's coastal areas and ICZM. Other RACs are:

  • Blue Plan Regional Activity Centre (BP/RAC), contributing to raising awareness of Mediterranean stakeholders and decision makers on environment and sustainable development issues, in particular through assessment of the current state and development of future scenarios.
  • Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (SPA/RAC), assisting Mediterranean countries in implementing the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean.
  • Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), assisting the Mediterranean coastal States in ratifying, transposing, implementing and enforcing international maritime conventions related to the prevention of, preparedness for and response to marine pollution from ships.
  • Information and Communication Regional Activity Centre (INFO/RAC), providing information and communication services and infrastructure technologies to Contracting Parties to implement Article 12 on public participation and Article 26 on reporting of the Barcelona Convention.
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production Regional Activity Centre (SCP/RAC), a centre for international cooperation with Mediterranean countries on development and innovation in the production sector and civil society, based on more sustainable consumption and production models.

Finally, The MED POL Programme is responsible for the follow up work related to the implementation of the LBS Protocol, i.e. the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities, and of the Dumping and Hazardous Wastes Protocols.

Main Outputs / Results

PAP/RAC support to Mediterranean countries on their path towards sustainable coastal development is realized through several lines of activities:

  • On-the-ground activities: Coastal Area Management Programmes - CAMPs, coastal or ICZM plans, national ICZM strategies, etc.;
  • Capacity building: trainings, workshops, consultations, conferences, on-the-job trainings related to particular projects, MedOpen – PAP/RAC’s on-line training on ICZM, etc.;
  • Awareness raising: Mediterranean Coast Day campaign, different awareness-raising activities in the framework of the on-the-ground projects, etc.;
  • Methodologies providing support to development of regional and national policies and preparation of legal documents.

PAP/RAC, together with MEDU and the entire UN Environment/MAP, system has been working on including MSP within the frame of the Barcelona Convention and specifically as part of ICZM and as one of the tools which are useful to fully implement the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) in the Mediterranean basin. To this regard, the 20thOrdinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, held in December 2017 in Tirana (Albania), adopted the “Conceptual Framework for Marine Spatial Planning” in the Mediterranean Sea. The Conceptual Framework for MSP is recognized as a guiding document to facilitate the introduction of this management tool into the implementation of ICZM through the relevant regional framework and within the system of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

MSP-related aspects are also addressed through the Coastal Area Management Programme (CAMPs) managed by PAP/RAC. PAP/RAC has been also involved in a wide number of projects (e.g. Shape, Adriplan,MSP Med - Paving the Road to MSP in the MediterraneanSupreme, Simwestmed, Portodimare, etc.) dealing with MSP, within which it has provided expertise on: integrating ICZM and MSP, Land-Sea Interactions (LSI) analysis with ICZM and MSP, policies and governance framework at regional and sub-regional level supporting ICZM and MSP, approaches for transboundary MSP, etc. Finally, direct experience of PAP/RAC on MSP includes the project “Defining the methodological framework for marine spatial planning in Bokakotorska Bay (Montenegro)” and a new project kicked-off on MSP funded by GEF on MSP implementation in Montenegro and Albania.


One of the main goals of PAP/RAC is the continuous dissemination of ICZM principles, objectives, methodologies, approaches and expected benefits in the entire Mediterranean basins; this also includes MSP. Studies, reports and documents issues by PAP/RAC are mostly publicly available on the PAP/RAC web-site.

Contact Person

Željka Škaričić

Director, Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre

E-mail: (zeljka[dot]skaricic[at]paprac[dot]org)

Responsible Entity 

United Nations Environment Programme – Mediterranean Action Plan (UN Environment/MAP)

Costs / Funding Source

Every two years the Conference of Parties (COP) approves the regular PAP/RAC budget for the activities funded from the Mediterranean Trust Fonds (MTF) alimented by all the Contracting Parties (CPs) to the Barcelona Convention. This budget is largely complemented by the Global Environment Facility (UN Environment/GEF) through funding packages provided for the implementation of additional activities in the eligible (non-EU) countries: following the successful implementation of the MedPartnership project in the previous years PAP/RAC has just submitted a new project proposal as a part of the MedProgramme – the next funding opportunity for the Mediterranean Region managed by GEF. Together with other partners PAP/RAC participate in EU calls for proposals, which represent another important support to ICZM and MSP activities in the EU Member States and their Mediterranean neighbours.