The Eleventh Meeting of the Focal Points of the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) was held in Malta, from 15 to 17 June 2015.
The Meeting examined the implementation of the programme of work of the Centre since the last Meeting of the Focal Points of REMPEC. It discussed and agreed upon the revision of the Regional Strategy for Prevention of and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships (2016-2021), whilst noting a reservation made by a Contracting Party. The Meeting also discussed and endorsed the activities included in the proposed programme of work of the Centre for the 2016/2017 biennium, which will be integrated in the Programme of Work of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP). Both the Regional Strategy (2016-2021) and the MAP Programme of Work will be submitted for approval by the next Meeting of the MAP Focal Points scheduled for October 2015 prior to their submission for adoption by the Nineteenth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (“the Barcelona Convention”) and its Protocols, to be tentatively held in February 2016 in Greece.
In the field of data sharing, monitoring and reporting, the Meeting endorsed the Mediterranean Integrated Geographical Information System on Marine Pollution Risk Assessment and Response (MEDGIS-MAR) and agreed, inter alia, that the latter would replace the database on alerts and accidents in the Mediterranean Sea of the Centre.
The Meeting noted and agreed that REMPEC will celebrate its 40th Anniversary on 11 December 2016 and throughout the year 2017 by organising various events on the theme “Cooperation in the Mediterranean to prevent and combat marine pollution”. The Meeting paved the way for the celebrations since cooperation was its cross-cutting theme.
Indeed, the possible support of IPIECA – The global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues towards strengthening the cooperation between IPIECA, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and REMPEC in the Mediterranean region, the cooperative approach presented in the project proposals on preparedness for and response to accidental marine pollution (oil and hazardous and noxious substances), as well as cooperation on illicit discharges from ships within the framework of the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials relating to MARPOL (MENELAS), were all discussed during the said meeting. Moreover, the Meeting expressed its wish to strengthen cooperation between REMPEC, the European Commission and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
The Meeting brought together representatives of 19 Mediterranean coastal States, which are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, as well as representatives from relevant Organisations of the United Nations, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, regional organisations and other international professional organisations and associations whose activities are relevant for the work of REMPEC.
The Meeting was opened by the Honourable Mr Joseph Mizzi, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure of Malta. Mr Habib El-Habr, Deputy Coordinator of MAP, Mr Dandu Pughiuc, Senior Deputy Director, Marine Environment Division, IMO as well as Ambassador Sergio Piazzi, Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean also participated in the Meeting.