Highlights and images for 5 December 2019


Delegates from Tunisia reviewing the COP 21 draft report.

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) convened for the fourth and final day on Thursday, 5 December 2019, in Naples, Italy.

Delegates convened in the late afternoon to finalize the work of the COP. This allowed sufficient time for the report of the meeting and the decisions to be finalized and reviewed. Delegates were also offered a tour, hosted by the Government of Italy, of the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, the Museo MADRE. In the plenary, delegates reviewed and adopted the meeting report and its decisions with minor amendments. The Programme of Work and Budget did require some discussion as parties sought additional clarifications. Delegates adopted 14 decisions: 13 thematic decisions, and one decision on the Programme of Work and Budget 2020-2021. Thematic decisions adopted included:

  • the common regional framework for integrated coastal zone management;
  • Mediterranean offshore guidelines and standards;
  • updated guidelines regulating the placement of artificial reefs at sea;
  • governance;
  • identification and conservation of sites of particular ecological interest in the Mediterranean, including specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance; and,
  • road map for the possible designation of the Mediterranean Sea area as an emission control area for sulphur oxides pursuant to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, annex VI, within the framework of the Barcelona Convention.

In her closing remarks, Maria Carmela Giarratano, COP 21 President, Italy, thanked Gaetano Leone. Leone, who received a standing ovation, remarked that COP 21 may be his final COP as Coordinator. He thanked the Government of Italy for hosting, and the Secretariat and delegates for their hard work, saying the “tensions and fights of this COP” would soon be forgotten as “we are Mediterranean after all.” COP 21 closed at 6.06 pm.


Flags of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols

View of the closing plenary

Gaetano Leone, Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat

Maria Carmela Giarratano, COP 21 President, Italy

Tatjana Hema, Deputy Coordinator, UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat

Habib El-Habr, Coordinator, Global Programme of Action (GPA), UNEP

Marijana Mance, EU

Aslı Topalak, Turkey

Ran Amir, Israel

Doumi El Hassane, Morocco

Delegates from Italy

Maria Carmela Giarratano, COP 21 President, Italy, closed the meeting at 6:06 pm




UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat COP 21 family photo


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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