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MEPIELAN Centre Participated in the Meeting of the MAP Focal Points (Athens, 19-21 May 2015)

MEPIELAN Centre, an accredited MAP Partner, participated as an observer to the Meeting of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Focal Points, held in Athens from 19 to 21 May 2015, in accordance with the programme of work adopted by the 18th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (Istanbul in 2013). At the Meeting, seventeen Contracting Parties were represented (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, European Union, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey). Apart from MEPIELAN Centre*, the following NGOs and MAP Partners were also represented as observers: HELMEPA (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association), INARE (Institute of Sustainable Development and Management of Natural Resources), MEDASSET (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles) and MIO-ECSDE (Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development).

The Meeting discussed the Draft Strategic Framework of the UNEP/MAP Mid-Term Strategy 2016-2021 (UNEP(DEPI)/MED WG. 415/3) and its strategic themes referring to “Land- and Sea-Based Pollution”, “Biodiversity and Ecosystems”, “Climate Change”, “Natural Resources”, “Governance” and “Mediterranean Environment Under Review”. Each of these themes comprised one or more strategic objectives, a set of indicators, and strategic outcomes with their corresponding key outputs.

During the Meeting, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, Director of MEPIELAN Centre, presented his legal comments on the themes “Land- and Sea-based Pollution” and “Natural Resources, and developed MEPIELAN Centre’s positions on the theme “Governance”. He emphasized the importance of  the educational aspect of sustainability governance as one of its key outputs, pointing out that educational programmes, together with training and public awareness, enhance the understanding of the Barcelona Convention system and add to the latter’s much needed visibility. He also stressed that synergy should be developed between ICZM Protocol and the European Landscape Convention and, further, underlined the need for enhancing he effectiveness of the Barcelona Convention system through its appropriate, contextually relevant, harmonization with “related” Environmental Conventions. Finally, he originally proposed that public trusteeship approach is a worth exploring concept as a legal framework for implementing the ecosystem approach in the Mediterranean. The public trust approach is well reflected in the language of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols and it will give substance to the expressed Vision of the Mid-Term Strategy 2016-2021 as well as of the revised Mediterranean Strategy on Sustainable Development (MSSD). All these points were properly reflected in the Report of the Meeting (paras. 27 & 47 of the Report).

* MEPIELAN Centre was represented by its Director, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, and two MEPIELAN Researchers, Dr. Alexandros Kailis and Mr. Socrates-Constantine Zachos.

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