We, Ministers and Heads of Delegations of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (the Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols, meeting in Tirana, Albania, on 19 December 2017,

Recalling the importance of the regional dimension for the implementation of global strategies and agendas,

Recalling also the unique nature and mandate of the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system and its primary role in contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean,

Welcoming the progress made in the delivery of the mandate described in the Mediterranean Action Plan, the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, and in other instruments and decisions,

Welcoming also the outcome document of the high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Our ocean, our future: call for action”,(New York, June 2017) and the commitments to action announced by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention as well as the regional commitments submitted by UNEP/MAP in the framework of the Conference and of the 4th edition of the Our Ocean Conference “Our Ocean, an ocean for life” (Malta, October 2017),

Recalling the Declaration adopted by the Ministers of Environment in the 3rd session of the UN Environment Assembly “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” (Nairobi, December 2017), and especially the commitments to strengthen actions that prevent, mitigate and manage marine pollution and promotion of the science based decision making,

Noting the key findings of the 2017 Mediterranean Quality Status Report, and highlighting that despite measures taken so far, marine pollution, including new and emerging pollutants, is one of the main pressures on the marine and coastal environment of the Mediterranean, that has significant adverse impacts on the natural ecosystems, and also highlighting the degradation of marine and coastal biodiversity caused by pressures acting in a cumulative manner, including ecosystem fragmentation, overexploitation of natural resources, introduction of invasive alien species, marine, soil and atmospheric pollution, as well as climate change,

Recalling the importance of oceans and biodiversity conservation for swift and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change,

Being aware that the development of sustainable blue economy and key socioeconomic activities depend on clean, biologically diverse and healthy seas, and reaffirming the vital importance of the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity and of the sustainable management of natural resources for the provision of goods and services, for the population of the Mediterranean region,

Welcoming the outcome of the Ocean Conference and reiterating its call to strengthen cooperation, policy coherence and coordination amongst institutions at all levels, including between and amongst international, regional and sub-regional organizations and institutions, arrangements and programmes,

Recognizing the contribution of non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and other key stakeholders as a means to maximize effectiveness and results on the ground,

Reaffirm our commitment to making progress towards achieving and/or maintaining Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean, in line with the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, and decide to start discussions on the next steps of the ecosystem approach implementation beyond 2021, to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

Resolve to enhance our efforts to play a key role towards a pollution-free planet and to integrate pollution prevention into national and local planning for the long-term well-being of people and our planet,

Decide to continue taking appropriate measures to prevent and reduce marine pollution from land-based and marine sources as set out in relevant MAP strategic documents, such as theMid-term Strategy 2016-2021, the Strategic Action Programme to Address Pollution from Land-based Activities (SAP-MED), the Regional Strategy for Prevention of and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships (2016-2021), the Mediterranean Offshore Action Plan, Regional and National Action Plans, especially regarding municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, solid waste management, phasing out or reduction of toxic and obsolete chemicals and hazardous waste, marine litter, plastics and microplastics and especially single-use plastics,

Commit to promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns; including making the best use of investment and innovation opportunities; supporting market-based and other solutions to reduce waste generation; improving mechanisms for environmentally sound waste management; and developing and promoting sustainable chemicals management and safe alternatives to plastics and toxic chemicals,

Welcome the commitments to eliminate 2,000 tons of PCBs/POPs and 30 tons of mercury in pollution hot spots in the Mediterranean, under the MedProgramme,

Commit to strengthening the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and achieving its targets, in synergy with similar work undertaken within other global frameworks such as the G7 and G20, and welcome commitments of the Contracting Parties under the Clean Seas and Beat Pollution campaigns lead by UNEP,

Encourage Contracting Parties to promote transformative investment for our economies and societies bringing in the private sector to finance clean, resource efficient, low carbon opportunities,

Resolve to enhance action to fully implement the priority and specific actions and achieve the biodiversity related targets, as set out in the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (SAP-BIO) and the endangered species and habitats Regional Action Plans as well as the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP), on biodiversity and non-indigenous species in the framework of the EcAP Roadmap in order to enhance the Good Environmental Status of the ecosystems, habitats and endangered species of the Mediterranean sea, to reduce the impact of invasive and non-indigenous species and to achieve CBD Aichi Target 9,

Commit to accelerate efforts to ensure the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and especially Aichi Target 11, as well as the ocean related SDG targets, in particular SDG target 14.5in the Mediterranean, andcooperate so as to achieve ambitious targets by 2030,

Encourage Contracting Parties to work on advancing the process of establishing MPAs, in line with relevant global developments including the ongoing process for development of an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and the provisions of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, where appropriate.

Welcome voluntary sources of financing for Mediterranean MPAs, including for example the work of the Trust Fund established for Mediterranean MPAs and the financial contributions already provided,

Reaffirm our commitment to promote adaptation to climate change and increase the resilience of the Mediterranean marine and coastal, natural and socio-economic system to impacts of climate change by advancing the implementation of the Protocol on ICZM and Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework,

Resolve to act in support of marine pollution prevention and phase-out, as well as biodiversity conservation in the framework of MAP/Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, by maximizing coordination and synergies at all levels with the work under the relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as well as with the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and other partners, and invite all Secretariats to strengthen their collaboration,

Invite international organizations, multilateral and bilateral donors, foundations and the private sector, with the interest and capacity to do so, to support the work of UNEP/MAP and related initiatives,

Welcome the work done on the development of the Common Regional Framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management and of the Conceptual Framework for Marine Spatial Planning and agree to further develop these two key instruments with the view of ensuring and promoting sustainable use of coastal and marine resources and reaching Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean and contributing to its sustainable development through enhanced planning and management approaches,

Commit to implement effective national monitoring programmes based on the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast (IMAP), as a tool to assess the state of the marine and coastal environment and the effectiveness of measures taken towards achieving and/or maintaining Good Environmental Status, the effectiveness of UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention relevant policies and the achievement of strategic targets related to pollution reduction, hydrography and biodiversity conservation,

Reaffirm our commitment to strengthen national and regional capacities to ensure implementation of the commitments under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols and by further improving national reporting on the implementation of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, aiming at a comprehensive and integrated reporting that enables to process the information and strengthen knowledge for underpinning national and regional policy making,

Reaffirm the instrumental role of the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system in facilitating the implementation of ocean related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean,

Highlight the important contribution that coordination at the regional sea level can have in delivering Agenda 2030, including through the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016-2025,

Commit to promote maximum coherence and synergy of regional monitoring mechanisms with global mechanisms for the 2030 Agenda monitoring,

Commit to continue and enhance our engagement and partnership with global, regional and sub-regional bodies and programmes, the scientific community and academic institutions, the private sector, the donor community, non-governmental organizations, community groups, and other relevant actors to support the achievement of our common goals on the implementation of ocean-related Agenda 2030, including Sustainable Development Goal 14, and especially on pollution prevention and reduction and on biodiversity conservation.

Date of Article: 
Tuesday, December 19, 2017