Blue Economy project at COP19 | News

The 19th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 19), hosted by the Hellenic Government, took place from 9 to 12 February 2016 in Athens. More than 150 delegates from 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union attended the meeting. A number of MAP partners, such as NGOs and other organisations, were also present. According to the hierarchy in the MAP system this is the highest ranking meeting as far as the representation is concerned. The meeting is organised on a biennium basis and has its ministerial segment that gives political weight to the event. The Meeting took place at a decisive moment following last year’s breakthroughs regarding the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN Summit in September, and the climate change in Paris in December.
After the presidency was given over from Turkey to Greece the meeting started working on the review and adoption of a number of decisions to guide the next biennium activities of the MAP, including, among others, the revised MSSD, the MAP Mid-term Strategy, the SCP Action Plan and the ICZM Action Plan, all being the main on-going regional governance processes.
The ministerial session was opened by Mr. Ioannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy of Greece. With the theme "Forty Years of Cooperation for Healthy and Productive Mediterranean Sea and Coast: A Collective Journey Towards Sustainable Development", the participants celebrated with pride the 40th anniversary of the Barcelona Convention, which, together with the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), represents one of the most advanced legal regimes worldwide for the protection of marine and coastal environment.

Highlighting their concerns regarding the continued threats posed to the Mediterranean by major pressures affecting the sea and its coastal inhabitants, the Mediterranean ministers adopted the Athens Declaration, in which they pledged to implement the instruments, programmes, action plans and guidelines adopted at the COP 19 to prevent pollution from maritime transport, marine exploration, and land-based activities, to promote circular economy, protect biodiversity, manage coastal zones, and increase the resilience of the Mediterranean to the impacts of climate change as crucial means for the achievement of the objectives of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

The Blue Economy project was presented and an exhibition displayed during the whole duration of the meeting. The objective was to influence this particular multilateral agreement and other international initiatives, i.e. to follow up and advocate the Barcelona Convention. All three project partners participated in the meeting. PAP/RAC displayed a roll-up with the presentation of the Blue Economy project, as well as disseminated the project leaflets. In addition, a major part of the SwitchMed Connect 2015 exhibition (presented in Barcelona on 29-30 October 2015) with the presentation of promising cases of blue economy was prepared by the SCP/RAC.

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