For the launch of the celebrations of its 40th Anniversary, REMPEC invited the 22 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, and its Partners to commemorate 40 years of existence of the Centre by retracing in particular its main achievements.
With the theme “Cooperation in the Mediterranean to Prevent and Combat Marine Pollution from Ships”, the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) launched on the 4th October 2016, the celebrations of its 40th Anniversary.
Over one hundred and thirty participants representing Mediterranean coastal States, organizations and institutions, attended the High Level Meeting, which aimed primarily at bringing together all relevant stakeholders under one forum and with one clear objective, to collaborate and strive towards the protection of the Mediterranean Sea. The Meeting was organized in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure, and the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, of Malta.
In his opening speech, His Excellency Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), welcomed the participants and highlighted that : “REMPEC has become a model for the establishment of similar centres in other parts of the World”.
Mr Jan Dusík, Director of the Europe Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recalled the cooperation arrangements between UNEP and IMO and stated that “REMPEC does not represent only a pioneering and unique experience in the region but it is also an excellent example of the UN system organisations delivering as one”.
The Honourable Dr George W. Vella, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mr Joe Mizzi, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the Honourable Dr José A. Herrera, Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change reaffirmed the support of the Government of Malta in REMPEC’s regional mission in the years to come.
During the Ministerial Session chaired by the Honourable Dr George W. Vella, Ministers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Greece together with 12 other representatives of the 20 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols attending the event, expressed their satisfaction on REMPEC’s achievements and called on its continuous assistance within its mandate and beyond for the implementation of the Mediterranean Offshore Action Plan.
Mr Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of UNEP/MAP, Barcelona Convention Secretariat who moderated the first panel with former Directors/Head of Office of the Centre stated: “In 1976, with extraordinary long-term vision, IMO and young UNEP joined hands to create a mechanism of collaboration that has spurred much success.”.
Mr Gabino Gonzalez, Head of Office of REMPEC, moderated the second panel gathering long standing Partners and underpinned the “crucial role of REMPEC in facilitating coordination, integration and cooperation, being a cross road between the local, national and sub-regional community needs and the regional and international regimes”.