The European Union announces its accession to the Barcelona Convention's Offshore Protocol


The European Union has announced its accession to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil.

With this new accession of the European Union, seven contracting parties would have approved the protocol, which entered into force on 24 March 2011. The Protocol had already been ratified by Albania, Cyprus, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia.

Management and monitoring of the protection of the Mediterranean Sea

The present protocol aims at establishing an effective management system to protect the Mediterranean Sea from pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf, the seabed and its subsoil, and organizing a mutual assistance in cases of emergency. It also establishes a system of authorization, monitoring and strict liability in case of damage, with a view to limit impact on natural resources, biodiversity and population.

Praising the step forward taken by the European Union, Maria Luisa Silva Mejias, UNEPMAP / Barcelona Convention Executive Secretary and Coordinator said: “major incidents experienced in some parts of the world, and linked to off-shore activities in ever deeper seas, have shown the necessity for common and higher regional standards to prevent the risk of acute pollution accidents. Through the implementation of this unique protocol, the parties to the Barcelona Convention are leading by example”.

Commitment to sustainable development

The need to further enhance the cooperation for the benefit of the Mediterranean environment and population continues to be critical. The process of ratification of the Protocol continues, revealing, once again the commitment of the parties towards sustainable development of the Mediterranean Sea and Coastal Region. The contracting parties are currently striving towards the universal ratification of the Barcelona Convention and all its Protocols.