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:
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.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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