MIO-ECSDE participated in the 17th 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 Paris on 8-10 February, 2012. The overall aim of MIO-ECSDE’s presence was to actively promote civil society participation in all levels of implementation of the Convention and its protocols.

A long list of important decisions for the operation of MAP, including the biennium work programme and its budget, was adopted.
During his opening remarks at the Plenary Session, Prof. Michael Scoullos, MIO-ECSDE Chairman, emphasized that “We are now in a particular moment of crisis, economic and socio-political, faced with many challenges. According to Civil Society organizations this crisis is not totally irrelevant to environmental problems. It is actually linked with the way that our affairs are governed, nationally, regionally and globally”.

Prof. Scoullos highlighted the contribution and constructive involvement NGOs already have in the Barcelona Convention, which was the very first Convention that invited NGOs to be partners, allowing them not only to observe but also express their views and participate with the right to intervene, even in the working groups.
Regarding the proposed decisions, MIO-ECSDE acknowledged the progress made, while expressing its disappointment with the fact that some of the promised targets have not been met so far, in particular those related with MPAs. Similarly, although the ratification of the ICZM Protocol is going well, the provisions for public participation, in the corresponding Action Plan, are inadequate.

MIO-ECSDE also confirmed the full support of the Federation to the Barcelona Convention for the execution of the next two-year programme and expressed its confidence and very high expectations from the new French Presidency.

At the meeting, MIO-ECSDE organized two exhibitions, one on marine litter and one featuring the MedPartnership and its achievements.