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The Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (SPA/BD Protocol) provides for the establishment of the List of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI List). This List aims to promote cooperation in the management and conservation of natural areas, as well as in the protection of threatened species and their habitats.

SPAMIs may be established in the marine and coastal zones subject to the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Parties to the Barcelona Convention and in areas situated partly or wholly on the high sea. Parties to the SPA/BD Protocol have committed to respect the protection and conservation measures set for the SPAMI.  

The SPAMI List may include sites which:

  • are of importance for conserving the components of biological diversity in the Mediterranean;
  • contain ecosystems specific to the Mediterranean area or the habitats of endangered species;
  • are of special interest at the scientific, aesthetic, cultural or educational levels.

The SPA/BD Protocol provides the criteria for the choice of protected marine and coastal areas that could be included in the SPAMI List (Annex I to the SPA/BD Protocol) as well as a procedure for the revision of the areas included in the List, which should take place every six years, counting from the date of the inclusion of the site in the List.

The SPAMI List has been established by COP 12 held in Monaco in November 2001. To date the SPAMI List includes the following areas: (Table – SPAMI list)

Download the 2020 updated map as PNG or PDF (high quality)

Procedures for listing SPAMIs and reviewing the SPAMI List

In accordance with article 9 of the SPA/BD Protocol, the proposal for inclusion of an area in the List is submitted:

  • by the Party concerned, if the area is situated in a zone already delimited, over which it exercises sovereignty or jurisdiction;
  • by two or more neighbouring Parties concerned if the area is situated, partly or wholly, on the high sea; and
  • by the neighbouring Parties concerned in areas where the limits of national sovereignty or jurisdiction have not yet been defined.

The Parties concerned submit to SPA/RAC a presentation report, following a specific format, adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention in 2001.

In 2008, the Contracting Parties adopted a procedure for the periodic review of SPAMIs to examine whether they meet the Protocol’s criteria (Annex I). Ordinary reviews of SPAMIs should take place every six years, counting from the date of the inclusion of the site in the SPAMI List.


This short animated film presents the SPAMI, an international recognition or a label for the promotion and the preservation of the Mediterranean natural heritage.

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