Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat, recently recalled that “The Barcelona Convention has played a pioneering role in the family of Regional Seas Conventions…it addresses marine litter and plastic pollution, social and economic development, natural and cultural heritage, and the quality of life of those dependent on the Sea and its resources… [Showing] the breadth of what can be achieved through the single entry point of marine conservation.”
Continuing this work, the 21st Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention COP 21) and its Protocols COP 21 will convene from 2-5 December 2019 at the Castel dell’Ovo in Naples, Italy. A High-Level Segment will convene on 4 December 2019.
Parties are expected to address a number of draft decisions. Thematic decisions include:
Implementation, Monitoring and Mid-Term Evaluation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016–2025 and of the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean;
Common Regional Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management;
Strategies and Action Plans under the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean;
Main Elements of the Six Regional Plans to Reduce/Prevent Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources;
Development of a Set of Regional Measures to Support the Development of Green and Circular Businesses and to Strengthen the Demand for more Sustainable Products; and
Updated Guidelines Regulating the Placement of Artificial Reefs at Sea.
Governance issues to be addressed include the evaluation of the current UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/ Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Mid-Term Strategy, and the preparation of the new one for 2022-2027, The Operational Communication Strategy, the roadmap for the preparation of a Data Management Policy, and the work of the Compliance Committee are also among a number of issues that will be addressed. COP 21 is expected to culminate in the adoption of the Naples Declaration.
COP 21 is preceded by a number of preparatory events, including focal point meetings to assess progress on activities during the 2018-2019 biennium. A youth event, regional stakeholder consultation meetings, and national stakeholder consultation meetings were also held to provide a platform for the respective parties to reflect on the themes of the COP 21 and coordinate their input.
The Barcelona Convention was adopted in 1976 and amended in 1995. It is the legally-binding component of the Mediterranean Action Plan, and is the first regional seas convention under the auspices of UNEP, providing for the protection of the marine and coastal environment of the Mediterranean. The Convention’s primary objectives include addressing marine litter and plastic pollution, the sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources, social and economic development, natural and cultural heritage, and the quality of life of those dependent on the Sea and its resources.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, has provided daily digital coverage and a summary report from COP21. The summary report is now available in HTML and PDF.
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