Meeting of the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials – Jun 25, 2013

The Regional Strategy for Prevention of and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships, adopted by the Contracting Parties in 2005, has identified  some specific objectives to be achieved in order to  implement effectively the 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol to the Barcelona Convention.  

Specific Objective 7 of the Regional Strategy addresses the issue of illegal discharges from ships in violation of MARPOL Annex I regulations. It calls on the Contracting Parties to, inter alia, ensure that they have an effective legal system in place to specifically deal with these violations, and to cooperate in exchanging information and facilitating the mutual acceptance of evidence. Under this Specific Objective the Secretariat was requested to undertake some pilot activities pertaining to compilation of national systems, and information for enforcement personnel as well as prosecutors, magistrates or penalizing authorities. 

As a means to reach the aims of Specific Objective 7, the idea of a Mediterranean network of law enforcement officials has been brought forward, based on the achievements of such networks in other Regional Seas such as the North Sea or the Baltic Sea. A first attempt to set up this network took place during the MEDEXPOL 2007. However, very few Contracting Parties nominated dedicated Focal Points on this cross cutting issue. In 2009, the World Bank took up the idea and, with the assistance of the French Ministry of Justice, succeeded in organizing a first Meeting where representatives of the Justice Ministries from Algeria, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco and Tunisia agreed in principle that such a network should be set up and to further consider the issue at a next meeting scheduled for the first semester of 2010. Indeed, a second meeting was organized by the World Bank to which representatives from the relevant Ministries of Albania, Croatia, France, Greece, Monaco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey participated and showed their willingness to work on this issue.   Finally, in June 2011, a third meeting was convened by the World Bank where representatives of the following countries attended: Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Lebanon, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey. 

During this Meeting, it was recognized that REMPEC could act as the Secretariat of this network and that a meeting should be organised later in 2011. Unfortunately due a lack of funds, this meeting could not be organised. For your complete information, you will find here attached the list of participants to the previous meetings. 

In late 2011, the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF) has agreed to grant funding for a “Regional-Governance and Knowledge Generation Project” (ReGoKo Project) implemented by Plan Bleu, another UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre. In line with the Project’s objective – fostering the integration of environmental issues into sectorial and development policies - the Steering Committee of this project has agreed to partly finance the above mentioned meeting. France has also agreed to voluntarily finance the participation of representatives of other Mediterranean Countries which are not covered by the above mentioned Project. After consultation with Spain, which hosted the third Mediterranean Coast Guard Forum in Palma de Mallorca (Baleares Islands, Spain) it has been decided to organize this meeting at the same location and back to back on 25-26 June 2013.

The main objective of this particular meeting was to facilitate the institutionalization of the network by agreeing on its structure and mandate. In order to initiate the discussion, the Secretariat prepared draft terms of reference which were circulated prior to the meeting. The meeting also discussed proposed activities in order to establish a work plan and identify possible sources of funding. Although some of the activities could be at no cost, some training activities and a yearly or bi-annual meeting, as is the case in other similar networks, have to be considered.

All documents of the event as well as the report are available on REMPEC’s event page.