HARMONY aims to suggest a set of monitoring and control measures between Italy and Malta providing actions to jointly recognize: i) the sea floor integrity and the inhabiting species, ii) the effects of habitat fragmentation in facilitating the diffusion of Non-Indigenous Species (NIS). By integrating these two aspects, HARMONY will reach a better understanding of marine ecosystem functioning in a cross-border context.

The cross-border nature of Italy and Malta needs the building of a common framework and a set of aligned approaches for the common shared biological resources and similar social and economic structures to avoid future conflicts and loss of goods and ecosystem services. Starting from the Marine Strategy Framework Directive D.2 (Non-indigenous Species) and D.6 (Sea-floor integrity) descriptors, it will be developed integrated actions and measures of monitoring in order to suggest management plans of Natura 2000 sites and habitats relating to sea floor integrity and non indigenous species.

Furthermore, the creation of a Italian Maltese network of universities, research institutes and stakeholders operating in the environmental protection sector will enable: i) the use of monitoring and control tools for sea floor integrity and NIS, as well as respective socio-economic activities; ii) integrate the European strategy for smart and sustainable Blue Growth; iii) make aware competent authorities at European, National and Regional level about how to face loss of biodiversity maintaining and restoring ecosystems and protected areas.

HARMONY outputs will produce a common strategy and develop common EDRR tools (Early Detection & Rapid Response), and a monitoring networks based on participatory processes (es. citizen science) to align policy actions between Italy and Malta aiming to create a common permanent governance structure of Italian Maltese cross border