The SPA/BD Protocol, and in particular its Annex I, provides the criteria for the selection of marine and coastal protected areas that could be included in the SPAMI list. To that end, an area should have legal status, protection status, and should be benefiting from planning and management, along with a certain number of criteria.
To be eligible for inclusion in the SPAMI list, an area must meet at least one of the general criteria set out in Article 8.2 of the Protocol. Many of these general criteria may in some cases be met by the same area and such a situation can only support the proposed listing of the area.
Regional value is a basic condition for an area to be included in the SPAMI list. The following criteria should be used to assess the Mediterranean interest of an area:
To be included on the SPAMI list, an area of scientific, educational or aesthetic interest must, be of particular value for research in the natural sciences or for environmental education or awareness activities or contain natural features, or exceptional landscapes or submarines.
The following sites may be included on the SPAMI list:
In addition to these criteria, a number of characteristics and factors are also considered favorable to listing an area, such as:
All areas eligible for inclusion in the SPAMI List must be awarded a legal status guaranteeing their effective long-term protection.
To be included in the SPAMI List, an area situated in a zone already delimited over which a Party exercises sovereignty or jurisdiction must have a protected status recognized by the Party concerned.
In the case of areas situated, partly or wholly, on the high sea or in a zone where the limits of national sovereignty or jurisdiction have not yet been defined, the legal status, the management plan, the applicable measures and the other elements provided for in Article 9, paragraph 3, of the Protocol (geographic location, physical and ecological characteristics, implementing the management plan means, a statement justifying the Mediterranean importance of the area, and other sections of the site presentation report) will be provided by the neighboring Parties concerned in the proposal for inclusion in the SPAMI List.
In the texts relating to each site, and will constitute the basis for assessment of the adequacy of the adopted measures and the effectiveness of their implementation at the revisions of the SPAMI List.
Applicable to each area must be adequate for the achievement of the conservation and management objectives set for the site in the short and long term, and take in particular into account the threats upon it.
Must be based on an adequate knowledge of the elements of the natural environment and of socioeconomic and cultural factors that characterize each area. In case of shortcomings in basic knowledge, an area proposed for inclusion in the SPAMI List must have a programme for the collection of the unavailable data and information.
With regard to administration and implementation of conservation measures for areas proposed for inclusion in the SPAMI List must be clearly defined in the texts governing each area.
With respect to the specificity characterizing each protected site, the protection measures for a SPAMI must take account of the following basic aspects:
To be included in the SPAMI List, a protected area must have a management body, endowed with sufficient powers as well as means and human resources to prevent and/or control activities likely to be contrary to the aims of the protected area.
To be included in the SPAMI List an area will have to be endowed with a management plan. The main rules of this management plan are to be laid down as from the time of inclusion and implemented immediately. A detailed management plan must be presented within three years of the time of inclusion. Failure to respect this obligation entails the removal of the site from the List.
To be included in the SPAMI List, an area will have to be endowed with a monitoring programme. This programme should include the identification and monitoring of a certain number of significant parameters for the area in question, in order to allow the assessment of the state and evolution of the area, as well as the effectiveness of protection and management measures implemented, so that they may be adapted if need be. To this end further necessary studies are to be commissioned.