Barcelona Convention – COP 21

Source: Plan Bleu. Original post available here (link removed/ page inactive).


The 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols held from December 2nd to 5th 2019 in Naples, Italy.

Ministers representing the 22 Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, the Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Inger Andersen, representatives of stakeholders and distinguished guests attended the Ministerial Segment on 4 December 2019. A High-Level Panel discussion took place at the opening of the Ministerial Segment. The High-Level Segment notably endorsed the Naples Ministerial Declaration (link removed/ page inactive), reiterating their commitment to the health of the Mediterranean and their strong political support to the UNEP/MAP mandate.

The Interactive Ministerial Policy Review Session served to provide strategic guidance for the preparation of the next UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy, considering the global context. The discussions notably focused on issues related to Marine Litter, Marine Protected Areas and Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Blue Economy (with a focus on Integrated Coastal Zone Management/Marine Spatial Planning and Sustainable Tourism).

COP 21 considered for adoption a number of draft decisions related to governance of the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention system as well as to thematic issues. Furthermore, COP 21 discussed and eventually adopted the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work and Budget for 2020-2021.

A number of important draft decisions pertained also to operational themes related to the protection of the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean:

  • a roadmap for a possible designation of the Mediterranean Sea area as an emission control area for Sulphur oxides;
  • six regional plans to reduce or prevent marine pollution from land-based sources;
  • new standards and guidelines to curb pollution under three Protocols of the Barcelona Convention addressing dumping, offshore and land-based sources;
  • guidelines on Adopt-a-Beach activities aimed at curbing marine litter and on phasing out single-use plastic bags;
  • common standards and guidelines related to offshore activities;
  • a common regional framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in line with the ICZM Protocol of the Barcelona Convention;
  • identification and conservation of Sites of Particular Ecological Interest in the Mediterranean, including Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance;
  • the Strategic Action Programme for the conservation of Biological Diversity (SAP BIO) in the Mediterranean Region; the strategy on Monk Seal; Action Plans concerning Marine Turtles, Cartilaginous Fishes and Marine Vegetation; and the Classification of Benthic Marine Habitat Types for the Mediterranean Region and Reference List of Marine and Coastal Habitat Types in the Mediterranean;
  • updated guidelines regulating the placement of artificial reefs at sea;
  • a set of regional measures aimed at supporting the development of green and circular businesses and stimulating demand for sustainable products.