Work Packages

Work Package ONE
The main objectives of WP1, coordinated by PP1, will be: (1) to guarantee that all planned activities will be carried out in accordance with the project proposal; (2) ensure that the partners respect the terms of the consortium contract and provide their contribution to the project activities as planned; (3) monitor the quality of results / outputs, which is high and meets the expectations of the Monitoring Committee of the INTERREG V-A Italy-Malta 2014-2020 Program; (4) directing and verifying that all project results and outputs are delivered as scheduled; (5) to promote internal and cross-border communication and cooperation, so that data and information sharing between partners are timely and effective; (6) to monitor reporting procedures so that they are properly carried out. These objectives will be achieved through a project management structure that will be based on the joint action of a project management team (PMT), which will be composed of the project coordinator, Prof. Gianluca Sar, a manager of UNIPA qualified project and an administrative manager of the university assisted by an external expert; the Steering Committee (CP) which will be composed of the project manager and the elected persons responsible for contact for each of the partners. With the support of this governance structure it will be possible to design and implement the project website which will be divided into two sections, one internal, dedicated to sharing information between partners, PMT and CP; and an external one, open to the public for the dissemination of the project results. This common dialogue platform will guarantee a more effective communication activity between the parties involved in the project and with the target groups to be reached (Activity 1.1). All partners in HARMONY will take part in project meetings (Activity 1.2) during which the PMT and CP will monitor the correct performance of the actions envisaged by the various WPs, monitoring the quality and possible risks in conducting the activities. These project meetings will allow to share the intermediate results / outputs (Activity 1.3) obtained by the various partners at each stage of the project and to plan and plan the activities of the various WPs. In this WP, UNIPA will deal with the financial management, the general coordination, the coordination of the drafting of the reports of each partner and the management of quality and risk (Activity 1.4).
Work Package TWO
The planned communication activities will make the project target groups (public decision makers, decision makers and economic-social stakeholders) more informed about the ecological, economic and social benefits deriving from the importance of monitoring the maintenance the integrity of the seabed and of the associated biodiversity deriving from the knowledge of the effects of NIS on cross-border ecosystems. The use of integration logic and tools will allow to raise the degree of awareness about the importance of the common action.

The use of a series of innovative communication approaches is envisaged, such as: 1) story telling sessions involving and forming individuals selected by the target groups (eg fishermen, restaurateurs and tour operators); 2) "Science for all" sessions to increase the involvement of the largest number of target groups and to foster the process of knowledge of scientific information; 3) "Practical sessions" addressed to operators in the sector (eg restaurateurs) to show the implications of the effects of the management of marine resources on the main economic activities involved.

The planned communication activities will make the project target groups (public decision makers, decision makers and economic-social stakeholders) more informed about the functioning of the cross-border marine ecosystem. The use of integration logic and tools will allow to raise the degree of awareness about the importance of the common action.

The use of a series of innovative communication approaches based on the Citizen Sciences paradigm is envisaged, ie the direct involvement of citizens and stakeholders in the data and information production process. These include the use of specific tools, such as: 1) Local Ecological Knowledge activities, or individual interviews with specific subjects who, for specific skills or professional experiences, represent useful expertise in the monitoring process 2) "focus group" that is, meetings with target groups in order to gather opinions, points of view and attitudes and perceptions about the need to apply biodiversity management measures, while the researchers take note of the answers and the moments of comparison.

The communication activities envisaged in relation to this objective must guarantee the dissemination and exploitation objectives, therefore they are aimed at making the project target groups (public decision makers, decision makers and economic-social stakeholders) informed about the results achieved by the project. and on the concrete possibilities of using and applying the tools produced in the context of planning and policy management processes, in the framework of a joint cross-border intervention strategy. more informed on the importance of transmitting the results obtained to feed cross-border biodiversity management measures and plans. The use of integration logic and tools will allow to raise the degree of awareness about the importance of the common action.

For the initial activities of sensitization and involvement of the target group, stakeholder engagement strategies will be adopted, aimed at acquiring the consent of the local actors with respect to the project's mission, sharing the results of the functional analysis of the actors themselves. For the dissemination of results and exploitation activities, a communication approach will be adopted based on the timely and direct transfer of the tools and data produced to the specific types of target groups. To this end, integrated communication techniques will be adopted, capable of optimizing both the level of penetration of the target and the level of usability of the information itself. The mass media communication techniques, therefore, will be integrated by communication micro-events based on direct communication and constructive interaction between the project staff and the recipients of the communicative action.

Work Package THREE

WP 3 coordinated by PP3 will allow, through an intense monitoring phase (whose completion is expected within 15 months from the beginning of the project), to assess how the alterations to the integrity of the seabed can affect the structure and functioning ecosystems and to evaluate the presence / frequency of NIS, in particular of IAS and their effect on ecosystems. The various and integrated monitoring actions proposed will allow to build a solid knowledge base in order to identify habitats and areas (Rete Natura 2000) on which to intervene providing control and management measures to be adopted both during and after the implementation of the project ensuring and strengthening the sustainability of outputs and results achieved (subsequent WP 4, 5) to halt the loss of biodiversity, maintain and restore ecosystems and protected areas (Specific Object Program 3.1). The actions envisaged in this WP were designed to conduct and implement joint monitoring between the partners and the leader, taking into account the technical and institutional specificities as well as the cross-border nature of the project outputs, avoiding any overlapping of roles and functions. The fragmentation of habitats causes alterations on the distribution of species (both of naturalistic value and of commercial value) that cascade affect the structure and dynamics of the populations and of the marine ecological communities, including facilitation phenomena for the settlement and diffusion processes of NIS. The importance of monitoring the integrity of the seabed (Marine Strategy Framework Directive [MSFD] D.6) or to identify vulnerability hot spots, as well as patterns and NIS dissemination vectors ([MSFD] D.2) is crucial for to be able to provide a proactive contribution to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth across borders, to assist specialization in the areas of research and innovation (Obj. PC Italia-Malta 2014-2020) and to achieve effective protection of the environment and efficient promotion of use of resources (Axis 3).

The activities designed for this WP will be two: 3.1 initial evaluation based on i) the collection of bibliographic sources (including gray literature, partners: PP1, PP2) and ii) the establishment of an innovative monitoring network for a periodic acquisition of data and information through interviews (Local Ecological Knowledge, LEK) on habitat integrity (partners: PP1, PP2, PP4, PP5, PP6) and on NIS (partners: PP2, PP4, PP5, PP6). 3.2 monitoring (partner: PP3, PP1, PP2, PP4, PP5, PP6) in which there will be direct collection actions in the field of biological data (eg abundance, biomass, etc.) for the production and implementation of maps of extension of relevant biogenic substrates that will allow to integrate the available data and monitor the ecosystem functioning status.

Work Package FOUR

The WP4 coordinated by PP1 will allow, through the integration and processing of data acquired by WP3 to develop control measures on an early warning basis by developing an integrated control system of NIS and integrity of the seabed that will allow to evaluate how the alterations of the latter can facilitate the settlement and diffusion processes of the NIS. During the processing and integration of data (action WP4.1 "integration and data processing"), and therefore analysis of the responses of the monitored ecosystem components and biodiversity, it will be possible to measure the repercussions due to alteration of the integrity of the sea bed and settlement of NIS on the functioning of ecosystems in Natura 2000 areas and habitats. Proactive and cross-border sustainable control measures can be suggested based on the results analyzed and useful for halting the loss of biodiversity, maintaining and restoring ecosystems and protected areas (Specific Ob. Program 3.1). The actions planned for this WP will result in the integration and processing of joint data between the partners and the leader taking into account the technical and institutional specificities as well as the cross-border nature of the project outputs, avoiding any overlapping of roles and functions.

The deliverables as well as the outputs obtained will be able to implement the Priority Action Frame Natura 2000 suggesting joint protection and control measures for the two cross-border regions. The NIS and the integrity of the seabed are the subject of descriptors D.2 and D.6 of the MSFD which have been associated with indicators for the achievement of the Good State of the Environment (GES). These indicators will be adopted and elaborated by the action WP4.2 "joint early warning control measures" as useful early warning control measures.

The marine area between Sicily and Malta represents a preferential route for human activities that threaten the integrity of the seabed (eg fishing) as well as the transit and diffusion of the NIS between the eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean, phenomena that will be proactively analyzed to estimate threats to local biodiversity contributing jointly to the development of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth across borders, assisting specialization in the areas of research and innovation (Ob. PC Italia-Malta 2014-2020) and reaching a effective protection of the environment and efficient use of resources (Axis 3). Moreover, since these cross-border communities base a large part of their economic activities on the value of biodiversity and marine resources, rapid-response co-management activities will be proposed (early warning tools will be proposed ad hoc).

Integration, processing and control measures for the integrity of the seabed will be developed by PP1, PP2, PP3 and PP5, for NIS from PP1, PP2 and PP5; the guidelines will be developed by all the partners with technical-scientific competences (PP1, PP2, PP3, PP5) who will take advantage of the collaboration of the institutional partners (PP4, PP6, PP7) who can contribute by providing information and evaluations based on the application current governance measures (eg national strategies for AIS, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Action B12).

Work Package FIVE

The WP5 is aimed at improving decision-making processes and the ability of the target groups to intervene, in order to increase both the degree of sharing of information resources and the level of integration of skills and available resources. This result will be achieved through the activation of a participatory Network for the Common Policy (ReCPolicy), made up of the representatives of the key-bodies for the topics of interest, which will have the role of elaborating and proposing common policy measures, ie management tools. harmonized and collaborative governance mechanisms through which functional measures to protect biodiversity can be activated on a voluntary basis and to ensure the functioning of ecosystems threatened by loss of seabed integrity and by NIS. (MSFD for D2 NIS and D6 descriptors Seabed integrity ). The activities of WP5 are aimed at: 1) generating and / or consolidating the system of technical-institutional relations between the key players; 2) identify operative tools to support decision-making and management processes, ie, technical guidelines arranged to improve and harmonize NIS management processes and functional to the transfer of project results in the cross-border area; 3) identify specific contexts in which to experiment with the joint or coordinated management of monitoring and control measures on the integrity of the seabed and the presence of NIS, ie protected sites able to apply common policy management tools to improve monitoring and control systems.

The activities will be carried out by adopting techniques of stakeholder engagement (ie conscious and responsible involvement of key players) and participatory design techniques (ie structured comparison of several actors aimed at generating shared decisions, meetings / interviews with institutional actors aimed at transferring the guidelines of eg focus group project). The phases of WP5 include a cognitive analysis and preparatory activities (5.5), in which the operational path of the whole WP5 is defined, a functional analysis of the stakeholders and of the governance and management mechanisms in force with respect to the reference policies are carried out. ; the shared elaboration of the Common Policy tools, in which the ReCPolicy participants will be guided through a structured participatory planning path, conducted through thematic meetings managed by expert facilitators. In this phase, harmonized tools for managing policies and integrated governance systems will be produced, both in relation to the integrity of the seabed and the IAS. The last phase includes the validation of the tools generated in the activity by the participants of the ReCPolicy and proposed to all the key players. Furthermore, implementation protocols will be defined to be proposed for the formalization of governance bodies at the local level. A workshop with project partners and institutional actors will facilitate the capitalization process of the Common Policy instruments through agreements on a voluntary basis.

PP2 WP coordination, production of technical reports and documentation for the NIS policy, management of communications with stakeholders, participation in meetings; PP1 production of technical reports and documentation for the policy Integrity of the seabed, participation in meetings; PP3 -PP4 - PP5 - PP6 - PP7 production documentation; participation in meetings.