During another full day, COP 22 to the Barcelona Convention held its ministerial session, which included the adoption of the Antalya Declaration, one of the main policy outcomes of the meeting. The Declaration reinforced the Contracting Parties’ commitment to a healthy, sustainable Mediterranean Sea region.
Highlights from the third day included:
- adoption of the Antalya Ministerial Declaration;
- presentation of the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award to the municipality of Malaga, Spain, by First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdoğan;
- high-level interventions from representatives of international organizations, underlining the Barcelona Convention’s role and significance in a complex policy environment;
- interventions by Contracting Parties’ ministers, showcasing national and regional efforts to address the triple environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution;
- a summary by youth representatives of the outcome of the pre-COP 22 youth event, held in Istanbul from 16-17 November 2021; and
- an evening plenary session, following the conclusion of the ministerial session, which allowed Contracting Parties to reach agreement on the programme of work and budget for the biennium 2022-2023, pending final adoption on Friday.
Murat Kurum, Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, Turkey, noted that the Mediterranean, which has always been a meeting point and cradle of remarkable civilizations throughout human history, faces serious challenges. Listing urgent environmental problems, he stressed that the roadmap to be adopted at COP 22 is critical, in addition to the need for broader cooperation.
Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, stated that “never before has the Mediterranean needed its human stewards as much as it does today,” emphasizing that humanity is currently on a collision course with nature. She underscored, inter alia, that ocean acidification threatens the fabric of marine ecosystems, bringing many species to the brink of extinction in the Mediterranean Sea, which has the highest degree of endemism in the world.
Youth representatives Faik Yetgin, Turkey, Aina Pujol, Spain, and Asma Tarek, Egypt, delivered the outcome of the pre-COP 22 youth event, emphasizing the important role young people can play in supporting and promoting sustainable efforts.
Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, via video message, expressed satisfaction with the attention the ocean-climate-nexus gained during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 26, which, he said, could be seen as “a lasting legacy from COP 26.”
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), via video, emphasized the need to craft regional strategies to support the implementation of global goals. She noted with satisfaction that the Barcelona Convention Contracting Parties have embraced this role and shown leadership.
Erika Koppola, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and Anna Pirani, University Paris-Saclay, France, via video, provided an overview of the physical science basis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report. She mentioned, in particular: the current state of the climate; possible climate futures; climate information for risk assessment and regional adaptation; and limiting future climate change.
A panel discussion, moderated by Jihed Ghannem, Barcelona Convention Secretariat, brought together “a beautiful Mediterranean palette of skillsets, walks of life, and experiences” to exchange ideas on the sustainability path for the region. Panelists addressed: the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report; the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas); how the three environmental crises of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change can be addressed by nature-based solutions; and how fishing communities across the Mediterranean are dealing with microplastics.
First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdoğan, reflecting on environmental challenges confronting the region, implored delegates to “start from our doorstep and leave a blue Mediterranean to future generations.” She highlighted national efforts towards sustainability including the Zero Waste Initiative, aimed at minimizing waste generation and transitioning to a circular economy.
First Lady Erdoğan presented the municipality of Malaga with the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award. Genoa, Italy, and Crikvenica, Croatia, were celebrated for their second and third place award, respectively.
Delegates reviewed and adopted the Antalya Ministerial Declaration. Ministers from Contracting Parties and partners outlined their national and regional initiatives, revealing an increasing level of ambition for environmental protection, stressing the need for further regional cooperation.
Following the ministerial segment, plenary reconvened for an evening plenary to discuss the programme of work and budget for the next biennium. Mftah Alhadi, Libya, Chair of the respective contact group and Tatjana Hema, Coordinator of UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention, presented the main amendments. Delegates approved the draft document pending final adoption in closing plenary on Friday.
Three side events took place during the day. At lunchtime, two events focused on pollution prevention and reduction, and biodiversity. In the afternoon, an event addressed regional cooperation and implementation of the Barcelona Convention.
Coverage of COP 22 Barcelona Convention by IISD/Earth Negotiations Bulletin is supported by Monaco.
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