Recognizing the need to protect the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) with the financial support of GEF launched a project (between 2002 and 2006) resulting in the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA-MED) for the Mediterranean Sea, which identified the following major transboundary environmental concerns in relation to the basin:
- Decline of biodiversity due to over-fishing, conversion and degradation of critical habitats, introduction of alien species, pollution in the form of excess nutrients and toxic wastes, including oil, solid waste and litter, and the use of non-selective fishing gear;
- Decline in fisheries due to over-fishing, use of harmful fishing practices, loss of shallow-water habitats for some life stages of critical fish species, the adverse water quality of rivers and coastal aquifers, sewage discharge, dredging and releases from non-point sources;
- Decline in seawater quality due to inadequate sewage treatment, lack of application of best practice in the agricultural use of fertilizers and pesticides, inadequate controls on atmospheric emissions of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants from European industrial sources, inadequate source and discharge control for industries bordering the sea, and increased shipping traffic in the Mediterranean causing increased accidental and deliberate releases of harmful contaminants;
- Human health risks due to the consumption of contaminated seafood, direct and indirect contact with seawater that is contaminated with pathogens and/or viral agents; and
- Loss of groundwater-dependent coastal ecosystems due to the contamination, salinization and over-exploitation of coastal aquifers.
The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) is a scientifically based assessment of the environmental conditions of an internationally shared water-body, which identifies major problems, their causes, possible solutions, and discriminates between those issues requiring international action (transboundary), and those of an exclusively national nature.