The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (COP21) concluded their twenty-first meeting (COP21) in Naples, Italy, on 5 December 2019.
Ministers and senior officials representing all Contracting Parties – 21 Mediterranean States and the European Union –attended the meeting convened by the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP).
More than 300 registered participants, including civil society and intergovernmental organizations, took part in the negotiations, side-events, exhibitions and panel discussions on the health of Mediterranean marine and coastal ecosystems.
The Ministerial Segment of COP21 opened on 4 December 2019 with statements from H.E. Mr. Sergio Costa, Minister for Environment, Land and Sea Protection of Italy, and Ms. Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. The UNEP/MAP Coordinator Gaetano Leone notably received a message from H.E. Mr Sergio Mattarella, President of the Republic of Italy, wishing COP21 delegates well in their deliberations.
Ms. Federica Gasbarro, a participant in the gathering of Mediterranean youth organized by Italy on 23 October 2019 in Naples, presented the Youth perspective and called upon Contracting Parties to press ahead on the path to sustainability.
The Contracting Parties reiterated their commitment to the health of the Mediterranean Sea and coast. The Naples Declaration encapsulates strong political support to the UNEP/MAP mandate in four priority areas, namely marine litter, the blue economy, biodiversity and marine protected areas, and climate change.
The UNEP/MAP Coordinator said that the Naples Declaration is “an eloquent expression of political support to the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention system’s role, achievements and plans in responding to the pressing environmental challenges facing the Mediterranean region”.
COP21 adopted the proposed Programme of Work and an increased core budget of UNEP/MAP for the 2020-2021 biennium. Contracting Parties also endorsed the launch of preparations for the next UNEP/MAP medium-term strategy (2022-2027).
A roadmap for the proposal of a possible designation of the Mediterranean as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides was adopted, in line with the terms of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
The Contracting Parties adopted thematic decisions pertaining to circular economy, guidelines on the placement of artificial reefs, and tools for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
COP21 notably adopted a plan for the conservation of iconic Mediterranean species such as monk seal, sharks and rays and designated four new sites as “Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI)” in France, Italy, Slovenia and Spain, including an important corridor for the movement of Cetaceans in the Mediterranean.
Adopted by the Contracting Parties in Napoli, elements of six regional plans to reduce and prevent marine pollution from Land-Based Sources (LBS) will now complement and bolster the LBS and Dumping Protocols of the Barcelona Convention.
In addition, COP21 cleared the publication (in 2020) of the UNEP/MAP State of Environment and Development Report (SoED 2019), which describes mounting pressure on our basin deriving from population growth, climate change, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, extractive industries, and transport.
COP21 agenda carried a focus on sustainability with a view for UNEP/MAP to underpin efforts by the Contracting Parties in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The outcomes of COP21 in Naples will contribute to the ongoing intergovernmental processes on the ocean, climate change and biodiversity with a focus on the Mediterranean region. Its outcomes will feed into the UNEP marine and coastal Strategy for the 2020–2030 decade.
A High-Level Panel discussion on “Protecting the marine environment and coastal region of the Mediterranean: game-changing action for sustainability” took place on 4 December 2019 during the Ministerial Segment. The Panel was rolled out in two consecutive sessions: “Periscope” and “Propulsion”. The former focused on challenges and opportunities that should factor into policymaking to achieve Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean in the context of sustainable development. The latter took the shape of an action-oriented collective reflection on leverage points that would accelerate the required transition.
Moderator: Dr. Xenia Loizidou, Ambassador for the Coast in the Mediterranean for 2019.
Session 1: PERISCOPE - Scanning the Mediterranean Horizon and Beyond
Dr. Thomas Froelicher, IPCC Lead Author, on findings of the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) with emphasis on the Mediterranean region and highlights related to scenarios and impacts of climate change [view presentation];
Session 2: PROPULSION - Entry Points for Action-Oriented and Climate-Resilient Policymaking
Ms. Lilia Hachem Naas, Director of the North Africa Office of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), on findings of recent studies conducted by UNECA on environmental policies and progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda;
The website maintained by the Host Country is available at the following address: www.cop21med-italy.net
Official hashtag to follow COP21 on social media: #COP21Napoli
The Twitter account of UNEP/MAP is @UNEPMAPNews: https://twitter.com/unepmapnews
Focal Points Meeting (Athens, Greece, 10-13 September 2019)
Focal Points of the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) met in Athens on 10-13 September 2019 to examine the progress on activities carried out during the 2018-2019 biennium, several strategic and thematic draft decisions to be submitted for adoption to COP 21, including the Programme of Work for the next two years (2020-2021), as well as to decide on the Provisional Agenda of COP 21 and its main theme. Read more
“Towards COP21” Youth Meeting” (Naples, Italy, 23 October 2019)
UNEP/MAP and the Government of Italy, as Host Country of COP21, are strongly committed to ensuring that the voice of Mediterranean youth be heard. A meeting with representatives of youth aged between 18-25, nominated by the Contracting Parties, took place on 23 October in Naples, Italy. Prior to the meeting organized by the Government of Italy, the nominated young representatives participated in an e-learning activity on [www.informea.org], on the mandate, objectives and work of the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system.
Two representatives will convey the message of the Mediterranean Youth to the High-Level Segment of COP 21 on 4 December 2019, in Naples.
Regional Stakeholders Consultation (Athens, Greece, 24-25 October 2019)
The meeting,which took place in Athens, Greece, on 24-25 October 2019, will serve as an opportunity for the MAP stakeholders to reflect on the main themes of COP 21 and to provide their contributions to the discussions on the Ministerial Declaration. The outcomes of the meeting will be reported to the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention at COP 21 for consideration in the Naples Ministerial Declaration and in the preparation of the new UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy 2022-2027. Read more