The Mediterranean region is recognised as a Global Biodiversity Hotspot, both in the terrestrial and marine environments, that is subject to rapid anthropogenic change. The Mediterranean Biodiversity Assessment initiative aims to synthesise and communicate the available information on the conservation status of a wide range of species in the region - mammals, reptiles, amphibians, freshwater and marine fishes, freshwater molluscs, dragonflies, freshwater crabs and crayfish, and selected groups of vascular plants - to all actors concerned with conservation. It seeks to link NGOs and scientists to give Governments and international organisations the information they need to implement and monitor conservation action on the ground. The initiative:
The initiative seeks to mobilize existing knowledge on species status that may be dispersed or unpublished, and ensure that it is made available for conservation purposes. The key role of IUCN is to coordinate the process ensuring full participation of all appropriate experts, validate the quality of the information, ensuring results of the highest scientific quality, and free of potential individual interests of participating scientists.
It has received support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, the Ministry for Environment of Italy, the European Commission, the Junta of Andalucia, the Ministry for Environment of Spain and the Convention on Migratory Species. Through its support for the initiative, the MAVA Foundation would build on the current achievements and allow it to address some of the more challenging species groups and play a strong catalytic role in a concerted regional action.
The conservation status of each Mediterranean species at regional level was assessed using the 2001 IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1 (IUCN 2001) and the Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional Levels (IUCN 2003).
A regional approach to identifying threatened species complements global conservation status assessments, and provides information at an appropriate scale for international conservation policies and legislation that have a regional focus. This information will help to put national conservation priorities into a Mediterranean context, thus maximising the effectiveness of local and national conservation measures, and facilitating the development of integrated regional conservation strategies.
The structure of IUCN Red List categories at regional level is the following: