L-R: Isidro González Alfonso, Union for the Mediterranean; Gavin Edwards, WWF; Xenia Loizidou, 2019 Ambassador for the Coast in the Mediterranean; and Lilia Hachem Naas, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
The Ministerial Session of the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (the Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols (COP 21) took place on Wednesday, 4 December 2019, in Naples, Italy.
Delegates convened early Wednesday morning to resume negotiations on the draft decisions on the programme of work and budget. Delegates were only able to address, but not conclude, their discussions on the budget.
The Ministerial Session convened thereafter. Sergio Costa, Minister of Environment, Land and Sea, Italy, opened the Session. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat, reading a message from the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, highlighted the Contracting Parties’ commitment to targeted initiatives to promote, among others, sustainable development and reducing marine litter.
In a video Message, Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, stressed the need to address the “plastic plague,” which has even permeated the food chain to the point where “we are eating the consequences.” Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, remarked that a recently concluded study found that there are about 62 million individual pieces of marine litter floating in the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaetano Leone said the Barcelona Convention must be central to the events taking place during 2020 as the “super year” for the global development and environmental agenda. Desiree Quagliarotti and Frederica Gasbarro, Youth representatives, highlighted Youth involvement in the COP 21 preparatory process.
Leone then reported on activities carried out in the framework of UNEP/MAP since COP 20.
Delegates also heard a high-level panel discussion on “Protecting the marine environment and coastal region of the Mediterranean: game-changing action for sustainability.” Key take-aways included:
- leverage points to accelerate the required transition must be identified;
- the blue economy is key;
- marine litter, among others, is an access point for action; and,
- cities have a leading role to play in the sustainable development of the region.
During the afternoon and evening, delegates heard statements from Ministers and Heads of Delegation, as well as adopted the Naples Ministerial Declaration. They also returned to their negotiations of the budget, governance and compliance decisions. The governance and compliance decisions were approved. After new budget suggestions, the Secretariat agreed to recalculate the budget in time for presentation in Thursday's Plenary session.
Programme of Work and Budget
Maria Carmela Giarratano, COP 21 President, Italy
Victor Escobar, EU
Ran Amir, Israel
Nadia Decker, France
Marine Argyrou, Cyprus
Marguerite Camilleri, Malta
Patricia Charlebois, International Maritime Organization
Moses Tefula, UNEP
Tatjana Hema, Deputy Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat
L-R: Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat; Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP; Sergio Costa, Minister of Environment, Land and Sea, Italy; and Maria Carmela Giarratano, COP 21 President, Italy
Sergio Costa, Minister of Environment, Land and Sea, Italy
Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat
Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP
Video message by Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean
L-R: Desiree Quagliarotti, Italian National Research Council, and Frederica Gasbarro, Youth Representative
Xenia Loizidou, 2019 Coastal Ambassador for the Mediterranean
Jacob Duer, President and CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens, Greece
Gavin Edwards, WWF
Thomas Frölicher, Lead Author, IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
Lilia Hachem Naas, UNECA
Augusto Giuseppe Navone, Marine Protected Area of Tavolara, Sardinia, Italy
Statements by Ministers and Heads of Delegation
Andreas Louka, Cyprus
Oliviero Montanaro, Italy
Hannele Pokka, Finland
Daniel Calleja, EU
Mohamad Salah, Egypt
Tidiani Couma, Monaco
Christian Severin, Global Environment Facility
Louisa Casson, Greenpeace
Snapshots from COP 21