Malta, 16 February 2015 - The first draft of the revised Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) will be discussed during a two-day conference in Malta starting tomorrow. The Conference will be hosted by the Government of Malta and it is being organized in close collaboration with the Coordination Unit of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and Plan Bleu.
The MSSD Review follows the decision of the 18th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, in Istanbul in December 2013, to review the 2005 Strategy. The reviewed MSSD will be submitted for endorsement to the 16th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) in Morocco in mid-June 2015, and for approval to the next Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (CoP 19).
The Conference will be opened by the Honorable Mr Leo Brincat, Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, and attended by Mr Gaetano Leone, UNEP/MAP Coordinator; members of the MCSD; representatives of the MAP Regional Activity Centers; as well as a number of keynote speakers and key stakeholders in the field of sustainable development in the Mediterranean. During the opening ceremony of the conference, Honorable Minister Mr Leo Brincat will present Malta’s Goodwill Ambassador for sustainable development for 2015, Ms Ira Losco, with an award.
The Strategy is being updated in light of the Rio+20 outcomes, in particular the decision to launch an intergovernmental process to develop global Sustainable Development Goals for consideration by the UN General Assembly. This will ensure that the region remains a frontrunner in the area of environmental and sustainability governance. The aim of the revised Strategy is to provide a strategic policy framework built upon a broad consultation process, to secure a sustainable future for the Mediterranean region. It seeks to adapt international commitments to regional conditions, to guide national sustainable development strategies and to stimulate regional cooperation in the achievement of sustainable development objectives.
The revised Strategy is built around the following draft vision: “A prosperous and peaceful Mediterranean region in which people enjoy a high quality of life and where sustainable development takes place within the carrying capacity of healthy ecosystems. This is achieved through common objectives, cooperation, solidarity, equity and participatory governance”. The strategy is structured around six thematic areas: Seas and coasts; Natural resources, rural development and food; Climate; Sustainable cities; Transition towards a green economy; and, Governance. The work on climate change from a regional perspective that is being presented in the revised Strategy is particularly timely when considering the momentum being raised at the global level on climate action through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, which is aimed at reaching a global climate agreement at COP21 to be held in Paris later this year.
The technical work supporting the review of the MSSD has been carried out by the UNEP/MAP through its Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre, which specializes in observation, analysis and prospective scenario-building, and the other Regional Activity Centres. A consultation document outlining key questions for the MSSD review was issued in April 2014, and involved a wide circle of stakeholders in providing feedback. The revised strategy is based on input obtained from six thematic stakeholder working groups that held online and face-to-face deliberations during the second half of 2014, which were facilitated by Plan Bleu, along with other Regional Activity Centres and the UNEP/MAP Secretariat.
The MCSD was created in 1996 by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention to convey their commitment to sustainable development and to the effective implementation, at the regional and national levels, of the decisions of the Earth Summit and the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development.
The MCSD is made up of 22 permanent members representing each of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (namely the 21 riparian countries and the European Union), as well as rotating representatives from the wider community.
The Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was adopted in 1975 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Seas Programme to monitor and protect the Mediterranean marine environment from pollution threats while ensuring the integrated development of the natural basin’s resources on the basis of multilateral cooperation. In 1976, Mediterranean countries and the European Community adopted the Barcelona Convention as the legal basis for international cooperation in protecting the Mediterranean environment.
The Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre (PB/RAC), based in France, was established in 1977. Its mission is to provide the Contracting Parties with assessments of the state of the environment and development of the Mediterranean and a solid basis of environmental and sustainable development data, statistics, and indicators to support their action and decision-making process. It contributes to raising the awareness of Mediterranean stakeholders and decision-makers on environment and sustainable development issues in the region, by assisting in decision-making.