Cyprus, Greece, and Israel have signed the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan. The objective of the Plan is an effective reaction to spills and to facilitate the co-operation among the three countries in the field of oil pollution preparedness and response. The Plan was signed on Tuesday, 8 May along with other instruments for the cooperation among the three countries.
The Heads of State and Government Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus; Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic; and Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel), who were meeting in Nicosia for their Fourth Trilateral Summit, were present at the signing ceremony. Their final declaration includes the following reference to the Agreement and expression of appreciation to the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention:
“We welcome today’s meeting of our three competent Ministers and the subsequent signing of the Implementation Agreement on the Sub-regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan. This constitutes both tangible evidence and reflects our willingness to further enhance and upgrade our cooperation in a proactive manner. In this regard, we acknowledge and welcome the presence today of the representative of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and express our appreciation for the invaluable support given by its Secretariat for the preparation of the aforementioned Agreement.”
Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the UN Environment / Mediterranean Action Plan, who attended the signing ceremony, noted his appreciation of this important development of sub-regional cooperation in the context of the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP)-Barcelona Convention, which is dedicated to continuing to provide support, building capacity to respond to oil spills, and sharing the experiences and lessons learned across the Mediterranean region.
The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel has been prepared in the framework of the MAP-Barcelona Convention system with the leadership and support of the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), one of the Regional Activity Centers of the MAP system, jointly established by UN Environment and the International Maritime Organization in 1976.
Through the Plan and the cooperation activities that have led to its signing, the three countries have strengthened the regional response mechanism established under REMPEC. This is a product of the Joint Declaration of Intent on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection, signed by the Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel in April 2016. This Declaration, with the first priority focusing on pollution from hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean, emphasises the political will to strengthen cooperation between the three countries in the field of preparedness and response to marine pollution, taking into account the increasing risks in the south-eastern Mediterranean region.
The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, have expressed great interest in this initiative and encouraged UN Environment / Mediterranean Action Plan to focus on the sub-regional dimension of cooperation. The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan between Cyprus, Greece and Israel is the sixth to be developed in the Mediterranean region. The other five are the following:
Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel; Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, President of the Republic of Cyprus; Mr. Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic;
Mr. Shmuel Revel, Ambassador of Israel to Cyprus; Mr. Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment of Cyprus; and Mr. Socrates Famelos, Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy