The 19th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 19) hosted by the Hellenic Government, has just been opened this morning of 9 February in Athens. The meeting was opened by Prof. Mehmet Birpinar, President of the Bureau of the Barcelona Convention who stressed in his speech on the achievements realized during the two years of Turkey’s presidency. Highlighting the improvement of the status of compliance of countries he declared:” we still need more progress on this issue. I am sure that we all agree that full compliance must be achieved”.
After the presidency was given over from Turkey to Greece the meeting started to work on the review and adoption of a number of decisions to guide the next biennium activities of the MAP, including among others the revised MSSD, the Mid-term Strategy, the SCP Action Plan etc. With more than 150 delegates from 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union, as well as MAP components the meeting is supposed to complete its work by Friday 12 February. On Thursday a ministerial session is envisaged with the participation of several ministers from the Mediterranean countries.
The Meeting is taking place at a decisive moment following last year’s breakthroughs on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals at the UN Summit in September 2015 and on climate change in Paris in December 2015.
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, addressed the participants - in a recorded message – and highlighted the proud record of the Barcelona Convention as being the only legally binding instrument that addresses the management of the unique ecosystem of the Mediterranean. Steiner emphasized that “the year 2015 laid out a new trajectory with the New York meeting and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Summit on Climate Change“, confirming that the Barcelona Convention will have a key role in achieving these goals in the Mediterranean.