Ministerial session – COP 19

12.02.2016

Athens, 11 February 2016 – During a high level event of the Barcelona Convention CoP 19 meeting, hosted by the Greek Government in Athens, Mediterranean ministers and parties contracted to the Convention, renewed their commitment to enhance measures to reduce pressures on their marine and coastal environment.
The ministerial session was opened by Mr. Ioannis Tsironis Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy of Greece. With the theme "Forty Years of Cooperation for Healthy and Productive Mediterranean Sea and Coast: A Collective Journey Towards Sustainable Development", participants to the meeting celebrated with pride the 40th anniversary of the Barcelona Convention, which, together with the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), represents one of the most advanced legal regimes worldwide for the protection of marine and coastal environment.
Representing UNEP, Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw said: “that this meeting was one of the first major conferences taking place after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. While 2015 will be remembered as a major milestone in terms of international agreements, 2016 has been called the year for implementation and delivery. We must seize that opportunity, and ride that momentum”.
Highlighting their concerns by the continued threats posed to the Mediterranean by major pressures affecting the sea and its coastal inhabitants, the Mediterranean ministers adopted the Athens Declaration, in which they pledged to implement the instruments, programmes, action plans and guidelines adopted at COP 19 -to prevent pollution from maritime transport, marine exploration, and land-based activities, protect biodiversity, manage coastal zones, and increase the resilience of the Mediterranean to the impacts of climate change -, as crucial means for the achievement of the objectives of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.
Two memoranda of understanding (MoU) were also signed with the Black Sea Convention and ACCOBAMS secretariats respectively.
COP 19 started
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