High-level conference in Istanbul on the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment

29.112013 (Athens)

Leading policy-makers from 21 Mediterranean countries as well as the European Union will meet in Istanbul on 3-6 December 2013 to discuss the state of their shared marine and coastal environment and make policy decisions to ensure a healthy and productive Mediterranean.

The Eighteenth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of Mediterranean and its Protocols (CoP18) will review the progress achieved during 2012-2013 and decide on future actions of significance to the marine and coastal environment and the promotion of sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.

The meeting will include a Ministerial conference on “Environment-friendly cities”. Ministers from Mediterranean countries are expected to discuss effective strategies implemented at the regional, national, and local levels, that address pressures on the Mediterranean environment from coastal urban populations.

H.E. Erdogan Bayraktar, Minister of Environment and Urbanization of Turkey, will open the meeting’s Ministerial segment that will take place on 5 December. Mayors from Mediterranean cities will also share their experiences at the level of coastal management, marine litter and waste management aiming to turn their cities into “Environment friendly” ones.

The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and Protocols hold Ministerial level meetings every two years to agree on policies, strategies, budget, and programme of work. The implementation of Contracting Parties’ Decisions is coordinated by the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat, which also oversees the work of six Regional Activity Centres.

Coastal urbanization has significantly increased in the four decades since the Barcelona Convention was adopted, with coastal cities turning into key actors for the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. During this period, the population from Mediterranean countries concentrated in the shorelines grew from 95 million inhabitants in 1979 to 155 million in 2010, with most of this population living in cities. According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in 2010 there were 15 Mediterranean coastal cities with more than 1 million inhabitants and 11 with more than half a million representing a total of almost 50 million people living in large cities along the Mediterranean coast.