The Protocols

Protocols to the Barcelona Convention

Seven Protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental conservation complete the MAP legal framework:

  • Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol)
  • Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution Resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (Offshore Protocol)
  • Dumping Protocol
  • LBS Protocol
  • SPA Protocol
  • Hazardous Wastes Protocol 
  • ICZM Protocol

The mission of REMPEC is to assist the Contracting Parties in meeting their obligations under Articles 4(1),  6 and 9 of the Barcelona Convention; the 1976 Emergency Protocol; the 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol and implementing the Regional Strategy  for Prevention of and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships (2016-2021). The Centre also assists Contracting Parties who need to mobilize regional or international assistance in emergency cases under the Offshore Protocol.

Prevention and Emergency Protocol

The foundations for regional cooperation in the fields of prevention of, preparing for and responding to marine pollution from ships in the Mediterranean are set out in the Protocol concerning Cooperation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol) to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention).

The 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol, which was adopted on 25 January 2002 in Malta and entered into force on 17 March 2004, is the regional instrument setting out the main principles of cooperation when dealing with threats to the marine environment, the coasts and related interests of the Contracting Parties posed by accidental releases or by accumulations of small, operational discharges, of oil or other harmful substances.

The 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol, replaced the 1976 Protocol concerning Co-operation in Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Cases of Emergency (1976 Emergency Protocol).

Status of signatures and ratifications of the 1976 Emergency Protocol, the 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol and other legal instruments within the Barcelona Convention.

Prevention and emergency protocol, 2002.PNG

The revision process: From the 1976 Emergency Protocol to the 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol

In Barcelona, in June 1995, the Contracting Parties and the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution and its Protocols, adopted the Phase II of MAP for the decade  1996-1995, as part of the revision process of the Mediterranean Action Plan in line with the provisions of UNCED 1992, and in particular with its Agenda 21.

They also decided to promote regional cooperation for the implementation of the relevant International Conventions related to the protection of the marine environment from pollution by ships.

This decision was followed, in 1997, by the adoption by the Tenth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties (Tunis, November 1997) of the Resolution on the “Regional Strategy on prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships”, which opened the way for amending the 1976 Protocol concerning Co-operation in Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Oil and other Harmful Substances in Cases of Emergency (Emergency Protocol).

The revision of the Emergency Protocol aimed at addressing the prevention of marine pollution as indicated in the Regional Strategy, but also at updating its text.  The revision process effectively started in 1998, and comprised among other things three Meetings of National Legal and Technical Experts and an Ad hoc Open Ended Meeting of Experts.  The Twelfth Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention held in Monaco in November 2001 decided that, instead of amending the original Emergency Protocol, a new Protocol should be adopted.  The same Meeting approved the new objectives and functions of REMPEC, in order to reflect the modifications made in the text of the Protocol.

The text was finalized and the revision process was eventually completed on 25 January 2002 when a Conference of Plenipotentiaries, convened in Malta by UNEP/MAP, adopted the new “Protocol concerning Cooperation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, in Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea”.

The 2002 “Prevention and Emergency” Protocol now covers prevention of, preparing for and responding to marine pollution from sea-based sources.  Its text was also updated to align this  with the texts of other relevant international legal instruments developed since the adoption of the 1976 Protocol, and in particular with the text of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC 1990), taking also into account the contribution of the European Community to the implementation of international standards related to maritime safety and prevention of pollution from ships.

Offshore Protocol

The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution Resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (“the Offshore Protocol”) to the Barcelona Convention, was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution and its Protocols in Madrid, Spain in 1994. However, the said Offshore Protocol and its implementation remained dormant for many years.  The “Deepwater Horizon” oil spill of 20 April 2010 brought the Offshore Protocol back onto the agenda of the Mediterranean, European and international community, and led to its entry into force on 24 March 2011 following the ratification by the Syrian Arab Republic on 22 February 2011.

 Status of signatures and ratifications of the Offshore Protocol, and other legal instruments within the Barcelona Convention.

 Offshore Protocol.PNG

 

Dumping Protocol

The Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft (adopted in 1976amended in 1995 – amendments not yet in force)

LBS Protocol 

(including Regional plans under art. 15 of LBS) entered into force in 2011
The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (adopted in 1980amended in 1996), amendment entered into force in 2008.

A number of Regional Plans has been adopted in the framework of the LBS Protocol on the reduction or elimination of substances or their inputs, including the Marine litter regional plan in the Mediterranean, relevant to REMPEC activities in the field of port reception facilities.

SPA Protocol

The Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (adopted in 1995, replacing the related protocol of 1982) and Annexes (adopted in 1996amended in 20092012 and 2013)

Hazardous Wastes Protocol

The Protocol on the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (adopted in 1996), entered into force in 2011

ICZM Protocol

The Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (adopted in 2008)