Ministerial Session of the 20th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention


Representatives of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention their 20th Ordinary meeting in Tirana, Albania, discussed “Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with focus on Sustainable Development Goal 14: Pollution and Biodiversity” during the high-level session which opened today.

The session was opened by H.E. Mr. Bendi Klosi, Minister of Tourism and Environment of Albania who welcomed participants noting the important role of the Mediterranean Action Plan / Barcelona Convention in the implementation of global policies in the Mediterranean region, serving as a strong linkage, while ensuring regional governance.

Ms Mette Wilkie, Director of the Ecosystems Division also addressed the meeting, recalling the Ministerial declaration of the United Nations Environment Assembly at its third session, which reflects the commitment of the world’s Ministers of Environment to work towards a pollution-free planet for the health and wellbeing of people and the environment.

Mr. Gaetano Leone, Coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan, informed the meeting of the good progress and achievements delivered during the 2016-2017 biennium: A strengthened institutional and financial framework and the establishment of new partnerships, which has resulted in a raised profile and increased visibility and credibility that allows the MAP system to provide concrete contributions to the global agenda.

Mr. Leone also highlighted some of the tangible accomplishments of the biennium, such as the removal of 930 tons of PCBs from three countries, the mobilization of considerable funding for concrete action and investments, and the development of technical tools to facilitate the implementation of the MAP instruments by Contracting Parties. He also welcomed the ongoing efforts for the effective and equitable conservation of at least 10 percent of the Mediterranean coastal and marine areas by the year 2020.

The interactive segment of statements by the heads of delegations of the Contracting Parties and Observers was opened with presentations by key-note speakers:

  • Ms Irena Zubcevic, Chief of the Small Island Developing States, Oceans and Climate Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented the interlinkages between SDG 14 and other Sustainale Development Goals;
  • Ms Amy Fraenkel of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity made a presentation on Achieving the Biodiversity Agenda in the Mediterranean;
  • Ms Mette Wilkie, Director of the Ecosystems Division of UN Environment, invited the Contracting Parties to contribute to protecting oceans, wildlife and human health by supporting the UN Environment #Beatpollution and #CleanSeas campaigns.
  • H.E. Mr. Branimir Gvozdenovic, Vice President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Honorary “Ambassador of the Mediterranean Coast” for 2017, addressed the meeting on the importance of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Having concluded discussions, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention adopted the Tirana Ministerial Declaration. The draft decision on the MAP Programme of Work and Budget 2018-2019 was also cleared for adoption.

The programme of the day included a conferring ceremony for the “Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award”, which was awarded to the city of Izmir (Turkey).

Meeting attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a side-event on Good Environmental Status by 2020 featuring success stories presented by the European Union and beneficiaries.

The photo exhibition “Deep colors of the Mediterranean sea”, organized by the Information and Communication Regional Activity Centre of the Mediterranean Action Plan (Info-RAC) is ongoing at the meeting venue.