Concluding its deliberations on Friday, COP 22 to the Barcelona Convention held its closing plenary, adopting 19 decisions that set the stage for future work and paving the path for a sustainable Mediterranean region.
- a landmark decision to submit to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding a joint and coordinated proposal on the designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulfur Oxides, pursuant to MARPOL Annex VI;
- important decisions on forthcoming work, including the Programme of Work and budget for the next biennium, and the Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2027;
- adoption of the Post-2020 Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Region;
- adoption of regional measures to support the development of green and circular businesses and to strengthen the demand for more sustainable products, showcasing the holistic approach of the Convention; and
- Contracting Parties unanimously welcoming offers from Slovenia and Egypt to host COP 23 and COP 24, respectively.
Contracting Parties addressed and approved the meeting’s report with few amendments.
In closing remarks, Kerstin Stendahl, Head of the Ecosystems Integration Branch, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), emphasized that the debates throughout the week had been “extremely constructive,” stressing that, “from a regional seas’ perspective, you set high standards for the regional seas family.”
The EU celebrated the decision to submit a joint proposal on the designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulfur Oxides, emphasizing it was an important deliverable for the region.
Slovenia underscored the significance of the meeting’s success for the future health of the Mediterranean. He highlighted the need to promote synergies among regional conventions, drawing attention to the Danube River Protection Convention and the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (Bucharest Convention).
Tatjana Hema, Coordinator of UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention, noted that “COP 22 will enter into the history of the MAP as a COP that will not be easily forgotten.” She applauded the approval of an ambitious agenda that sets the region on a path towards sustainability, progressing in a solid way towards contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. She drew attention to the unwavering commitment of the entire MAP family, highlighting that their physical presence in such challenging times proves their dedication to the process. She commended the spirit of solidarity during constructive discussions, and thanked the host country for its hospitality and all COP 22 participants for their hard work.
COP 22 President Mehmet Emin Birpinar applauded the Secretariat and Contracting Parties for their tireless work on the Antalya Declaration. He reflected on how since ancient times, the Mediterranean has served as a central basin for civilization, rich in resources and diverse in cultures, and stressed that preserving this is vital for future generations. He drew upon the famous words of poet Jalal-Uddin Rumi to assert that if the sea is beautiful, then the coast and everything else will follow in beauty.
President Birpinar shared some of his highlights of COP 22 noting: the Medium-Term Strategy; the commitment to decrease sulfur emissions from ships; and a renewed commitment to protect biodiversity and tackle marine litter. He shared his hope that the complex decisions agreed upon at this COP will serve as a model for related conventions and for the world at large. He shared a story on how lessons learned from sea turtles may help humans to live long and happy lives, and closed the meeting at 18:14 GMT+3.
Coverage of COP 22 Barcelona Convention by IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin is supported by Monaco.
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