MIO-ECSDE participated in the 18th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols, organized by the UNEP/MAP Secretariat in Istanbul on 3-6 December, 2013.

The 4-day discussions focused on the progress achieved during the 2012-2013 biennium, the work programme and corresponding budget for the next biennium and a long list of thematic decisions aiming to ensure a healthy and productive Mediterranean. Among the most important decisions adopted were the Development of an Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean and the Application of the Ecosystem Approach towards achieving Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean.

Professor Michael Scoullos, chairman of MIO-ECSDE, is content with the outcome. “This action plan is state-of-the-art”, he notes. “The ecosystem approach is now even more integrated in the Barcelona Convention. This plan goes beyond normal environmental protection.” But he sees also challenges ahead. “It will take time it to be fully understood and implemented. It will not be easy”.

Another decision long-awaited by civil society organizations active on marine litter issues was the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean. It provides a common framework for Mediterranean countries to tackle the problem of marine litter. The Mediterranean is the first Regional Sea Convention to adopt such a plan.

MIO-ECSDE had been actively involved in the preparation process of the Regional Plan and warmly welcomed the decision. Furthermore, in an effort to constructively and concretely demonstrate the Federation’s support to the implementation of the Plan, MIO-ECSDE together with the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) and in collaboration with the Catalan Waste Agency, ACR+ and UNEP/MAP MEDPOL organized a side event on “Tackling marine litter in the Mediterranean” on the 4 December 2013.

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