Highlights and images for 4 December 2019


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

Ministerial Session

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


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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For Barcelona Convention COP 21, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon.


Negotiating blocs
European Union
Non-state coalitions