Under the auspices of the Ministry for Environment of the Hellenic Republic, the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) launched the celebration of its 40th anniversary in Athens, Greece on 19 May 2015.
The launching came within the framework of the meeting of the MAP National Focal Points aiming to discuss the UNEP/MAP draft Mid-term Strategy for the period 2016-2021.
The meeting was opened by H.E. Mr Ioannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister for Environment of the Hellenic Republic. Welcoming the participants to the meeting, Minister Tsironis reiterated the continuous support of Greece to the MAP, and said: "MAP's role is essential at this crucial period for the Mediterranean countries, faced with economic, social and political problems. Greece has always shown continuous support to MAP for its catalyzing role in supporting peace and stability in the region".
Faced with new challenges, tensions, and opportunities, the situation of the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean continues to be under serious pressures. "Forty years since the MAP and the Barcelona Convention were signed off, the reality in the Mediterranean is very different from 1975-1976", said Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of MAP in his welcoming address. "Today, the MAP mission is still ambitious and exciting, the mandate is still most relevant, the opportunities for impact are still abundant and attainable, the expectations are still high", he added.
Building on 40 years of work and accomplishments, several activities will be organized to highlight achievements and shed light on key environmental pressures in the Mediterranean. Contracting Parties were also encouraged to feature MAP in events organized at their national level.
Under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Programme, the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Barcelona Convention provide the political and legal framework for the protection of the marine environment and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean region. With all riparian countries and the EU as Contracting Parties, they aim at addressing the multiple pressures affecting the sea and its coasts while promoting sustainable development.