21 Mediterranean countries and the EU meet under the auspices of UNEP/MAP to tackle the triple crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change in the Mediterranean – Dec 02, 2021

 

The 22nd Meeting (COP 22) of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols is scheduled to take place in person on 7-10 December 2021 in Antalya (Turkey).

COP 22 will mark the 45th anniversary of the Barcelona Convention, which was adopted in 1976 and amended in 1995. The Convention is one of the main achievements of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP).

Ms. Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, will attend the ministerial session of COP 22 alongside H.E. Mr. Murat Kurum, Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change of Turkey and several ministers of the environment from Mediterranean countries.

Messages to COP 22 from Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and from Mr. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, will be released during the meeting.

After a succession of global meetings, including the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the first part of CBD COP 15 and UNFCCC COP 26, the COP 22 of the Barcelona Convention in Antalya will serve as the “COP for the Mediterranean”, offering an inclusive platform for a policy dialogue that brings together the three shores of the basin.

As the Mediterranean region grapples with the impacts of the unfolding triple crisis of pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change, and as countries strive to emerge from a highly disruptive COVID-19 pandemic, COP 22 will offer a forum for the Contracting Parties to take stock and plan ahead. The COP 22 agenda includes several draft decisions that will contribute to shaping the Mediterranean region’s future. The documents that the Contracting Parties will examine in Antalya include:

  •  Designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides (MED SOx ECA) pursuant to MARPOL Annex VI;
  •  Post-2020 Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the Mediterranean Region (Post-2020 SAPBIO);
  •  Protecting and conserving the Mediterranean through well connected and effective systems of marine and coastal protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, including Specially Protected Areas and Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance;
  •  Regional Plans on Urban Wastewater Treatment and Sewage Sludge Management in the Framework of Article 15 of the Land Based Sources Protocol;
  •  Mediterranean Strategy for the Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships (2022-2031).
  •  Environment and Development Assessment Studies, including the First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR 1) of the network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change, a science-policy interface that UNEP/MAP supports;
  •  Ballast Water Management Strategy for the Mediterranean Sea (2022-2027);
  •  Set of Regional Measures to Support the Development of Green and Circular Businesses and to Strengthen the Demand for more Sustainable Products;
  •  Amendments to Annexes I, II and IV to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol);
  •  Amendments to the Annex to the Protocol for the Prevention and Elimination of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft or Incineration at Sea (Dumping Protocol);
  •  Amendments to the Annexes to 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 (Offshore Protocol);
  •  Amendments to the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean in the Framework of Article 15 of the Land Based Sources Protocol;
  •  Action Plans for the conservation of species and habitats under the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean;
  •  Guidelines for the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) under 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 COP 22 ministerial session will take place on 9 December 2021. The theme chosen by Turkey, the COP 22 Host Country, is: “Towards a Blue Mediterranean: leaving a pollution-free legacy, protecting biodiversity and sustaining climate stability”.

The Antalya Ministerial Declaration is expected to muster high-level political support behind this agenda and what it stands for: a UNEP/MAP-led push for a green recovery powered by an ambitious Medium-term Strategy (2022-2027), also to be examined for adoption in Antalya.

A high-level panel will take place during the ministerial session on 9 December. It will enrich the policy discussion by bringing insights from several sectors and fields of expertise. Speakers will include:

  • Ms. Elham Ali, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Suez (Egypt) and Lead Author of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report;
  • Mr. Lefteris Arapakis, UNEP Young Champion of the Earth (2020) and Ambassador for the Mediterranean Coast (2021);
  • Mr. Guillaume Sainteny, President of Plan Bleu, a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre hosted by France;
  • Mr. Yakup Kaska, Professor, Pamukkale University, Turkey.

The COP 22 Programme

The provisional timetable of COP 22 is available through this link: https://bit.ly/BC-COP22.