The UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat succeeded in cutting its paper consumption by 85% during the 19th ordinary meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention held in Athens from 9 to 12 February 2016, as compared to its last CoP meeting held in December 2013.
This was possible thanks to a series of sustainable measures successfully implemented by UNEP/MAP in collaboration with its Sustainable MAP Operations Task Force. For COP19, meeting registration was done online, meeting documents were uploaded to the MAP website, participants were requested to bring their own devices to read documents on the screen, and a series of Conference Room Paper and draft report of the meeting were circulated by email, which all contributed to cutting down the paper consumption to the minimum.
"I commit to switch to led lights in all my house", "I will recycle organic domestic waste into the garden", "I will use a towel instead of paper towels"; were the commitments that participants wrote on leaves made of recycled paper, that they put on what was called “the tree of life” set at the entrance of the meeting room. The “Tree of Life” initiative aimed at raising the awareness of meeting participants by asking them to write down their commitment to reduce the ecological footprint on one leaf and mention challenges to make meetings and events more environmentally sustainable.
Participants made commitments to reuse, recycle and consume less, opt for walking, biking or using public transportation, turn off lights and ACs, eat organic and local seasonal food and consume less meat, print less and many more. They also committed to more sustainable events through reducing paper and plastic waste, selecting venues with sustainable policy, identifying of and working with local sustainable vendors, off-setting the carbon emissions from flights, etc. Many have expressed their willingness to share the information about sustainability with their families and friends.
The activity comes as one of the initiatives of the MAP Sustainability Task Force, aiming at implementing a more sustainable, greener approach, and reduction of ecological footprint in the daily operations and meetings organized by the MAP System. Launched at the beginning of year 2015, the Task Force, is consisted of members of UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention Secretariat and its collaborating Regional Activity Centres: Plan Bleu, PAP/RAC, SPA/RAC, REMPEC, INFO/RAC, and SCP/RAC located in France, Croatia, Tunisia, Malta, Italy and Spain respectively.