Celebrating 40 Years of Cooperation for a Healthy Mediterranean Thu, Feb 4, 2016
The Conference of Parties to the Barcelona Convention will be hosted by the Greek Government in Athens from 9 to 12 February. Deputy Executive Director, Ibrahim Thiaw, to represent UNEP
Athens, 2 February 2016 - More than 150 delegates from 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union, all parties to the Barcelona Convention, will meet in Athens next week to decide on key environmental issues related to the marine and coastal areas of the region.
The meeting coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Barcelona Convention, which, together with the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), represents one of the most advanced legal regimes worldwide for the protection of marine and coastal environment. This first-ever agreement under the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Regional Seas umbrella has served as a model for the 12 subsequent Regional Seas cooperation frameworks around the world.
During the last four decades, the Barcelona Convention developed seven protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental conservation. These have evolved from preventing pollution from maritime transport, marine exploration, and land-based activities to protecting biodiversity, and managing coastal zones.
Mediterranean countries have endeavoured to integrate sustainable development into their national policies. The Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2005, has become a strategic guiding document for all stakeholders and partners to translate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional, sub-regional and national levels.
Building on these achievements, the delegates to next week's meeting are expected to adopt basin wide strategies, MAP medium-term strategy for the coming 6 years, key action plans as well as a regional framework on climate change adaptation.
During a high level event with the theme "Forty Years of Cooperation for Healthy and Productive Mediterranean Sea and Coast: A Collective Journey Towards Sustainable Development" the region's ministers will take stock of the successful first four decades of the Barcelona Convention. They will also draw a roadmap for the sustainable development of the Mediterranean in the coming ten years, within the framework of the global SDGs.
The Meeting comes at a key moment for the Mediterranean, as the region is integrating the agreed universal goals into its own sustainable development agenda, transitioning to a green and blue economy.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was adopted in 1975 by Mediterranean countries and the European Community under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Seas Programme to monitor and protect the Mediterranean marine environment from pollution threats while ensuring the integrated development of the natural basin's resources on the basis of multilateral cooperation.
About the Barcelona Convention
In 1976, Mediterranean countries and the European Community adopted the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution as the legal basis for international cooperation in protecting the Mediterranean environment.
The scope of Barcelona Convention gradually widened to include integrated coastal zone planning and management. Today, 40 years later, there are 22 Contracting Parties working together to protect the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment while boosting regional and national plans to achieve sustainable development.
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