TUNE UP Project: Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar Memorandum of Cooperation

TUNE UP Project: Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar Memorandum of Cooperation


Status: complete

Categorization: habitat and biodiversity, local development

Country: Spain

Period: /

Contact info

Name: Inmaculada Guerrero Alés

Organization: FAMP

Email: iguerrero@famp.es

Contact address: Avda. San Francisco Javier nº 22, edificio Hermes 3ª 14 -41018 (Sevilla)


Summary description: The Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park is a perfect example of how complex the governance relationships in protected areas can be. The overlapping of different institutions, municipal governments and protection figures needs to be managed in such a way that the different interests of the stakeholders and those of the administration and governmental institutions share a common point of view. This is the principal goal of the signed Memorandum of Cooperation for the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Park. It does not only bare and describe the common future towards which every key actor wants to aim, but it is also the accomplishment of a very intricate and thoughtful collaborative process carried out in the area. Both Territorial Labs and Bilateral meetings have been held in order to elaborate a document that would embrace everyone’s interests. The signed document was accompanied by an Action Plan where the objectives and results of the collaborative process had been transformed into different projects for the Pilot Area. This demonstrates the will to collaborate and actively participate in the sustainable transformation of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, and the importance the governance and protection of biodiversity has for the different stakeholders.

Type: project

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life, (iv) reducing the seasonality of demand, (v) limiting the environmental impact of tourism-related transport, (vii) improving the quality of tourism jobs

EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (ii) planning for the long term, (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance, (v) promoting awareness and commitment

Reason of interest for COASTING: The importance and relevance of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park relies mainly of its ecosystems, diverse and rich environments which depend on the equilibrium and well preservation of the area. This is endangered by the other main characteristic of the area, as an economic resource, which is its relevance as a touristic destination and its proximity to highly exploited agricultural land. These two potentialities have not been correctly managed in the past, and TUNE UP could help promoting new actions and amplifying the ones which already exist.

Financial information

: 0.00 €

Financial sources: x

Background information

Territorial context: The main characteristics for which the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar is considerate such a unique landscape emanate from its volcanic origin, providing it with some of the most beautiful coastal environments in the Mediterranean. Its dessert like climate, difficulty in the development of agriculture and abrupt landscape made it to be mostly uninhabited. It was with the emergence of seasonal tourism and intense greenhouse agriculture that it started to see its biodiversity and landscapes threatened.


Regulation framework: There exists a very complex regulatory framework for the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, and different policies and strategies were taken into account during the elaboration of the MoU. Some of the main policies taken into account were the Barcelona Agreement for the protection of the marine environments (1995) and the regulatory framework established by the Spanish Network of Maritime Protected Areas (RAMPE). Guidelines defined by international documents, such as the International Agreement about Biologically Biodiversity (CDB, Río de JANEIRO, 1992), or the Strategic Plan for the Biological Diversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Goals, were also taken into account for the elaboration of the Good Practice. The Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive are a key point in the European Policy while working in such areas as Natural Parks, that’s why the Spanish Law 42/2007 translates both of them, for a better applicability to the Spanish context.

Specific information

Objectives: - Elaborate an agreed document which could be used as a roadmap by different stakeholders and key actors in the development of actions which would encourage the biodiversity protection and promote a different governance in the Pilot Area: The Action Plan. - Elaborate an agreed and signed document which would show the willingness to transform the area though a common view on the Park: the Memorandum of Cooperation.

Developers (and governance): Andalusian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces Andalusian Regional Ministry of Environment, Livestock, Fishing, Agriculture and Sustainable Development Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar Managing Authority

Beneficiaries: Official institutions responsible for the Park, companies whose economic activity is carried out at the Park, the University and different social groups.

Innovation aspects: The main innovation of the Good Practice is how the process is developed. Commonly, the Memorandum of Cooperation is signed as a starting point form which to start working together and looking for a common ground. Instead, the Cabo de Gata-Níjar MoU is a document which is generated as a result of a process already carried out, which is accompanied by a roadmap (the Action Plan) developed collaboratively.

Actions: The main actions were concentrated around the collaboration aspect of the process: the territorial laboratories were fundamental because they were where the different interests were manifested and a common ground was generated. A constant interaction with the different stakeholders, both presential and online, was indispensable for the finalisation of the good practice. The second local conference, where de MoU was signed, was staged as the principal meeting where pregenitality allowed everyone to reinforce the common agreements.

Stakeholders involvement: Stakeholders’ involvement has been the key aspect to the elaboration of the Memorandum of Cooperation throughout the collaborative process. The Territorial Laboratories, for which three sessions were held, consisted of and evaluation of the main criticalities of the Pilot Area; from there, specific and strategic objectives were agreed, from which action guidelines could be developed; lastly, incorporating to all this project the main interests and possibilities of each stakeholder, specific projects were designed. The meetings and debates were held online and, when possible, presential reunions were developed. The Second Local Conference, where the MoU was signed, took place in the Natural Park, where different roundtables were carried out and where a place for sharing commons interests and concerns. The main stakeholders were the official institutions responsible for the Park, companies whose economic activity is carried out at the Park, the University and different social groups. ..

Results achieved: - Establishment of a dialogue between agents which previously did not share a common dialogue due to the absence of correct instruments and channels. - An openness in the interests and intentions of each agent, which improves the possibility of a common roadmap. - The elaboration of an Action Plan which every stakeholder considered represented its interests and needs. - The signing of the Memorandum, which confirmed the willingness to work together towards the implementation of an instrument such as the contract in the protection of biodiversity in critical areas such as MPAs.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: The main challenge in the development of the Good Practice was exploring the restricted ground that the protection figures leave for the development and implementation of new projects. Several times, desires which were shared between the citizenship and the private sector were impossible to carried out because they were already regulated by some of the protection figures.


Transferability in COASTING project: The transferability of this methodology is ensured due to the fact that it has already been implemented before in the WETNET experience; once again, during TUNE UP, it allowed for the consecution of the project intentions and objectives. The different documents and deliverables generated also allow for a full transferability of how to implement a tool such as the contract in different areas: wetlands, rivers, coasts, etc.