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MEPIELAN-UNEP/MAP: The Advancement of a Joint Postgraduate  Programme 
(International Workshop, Athens, UNEP/MAP, 23 November 2017)

MEPIELAN Centre, as a UNEP/MAP Partner since 2013, has consistently supported Education as an implementing element of Sustainability Governance in the Mediterranean. The initiative for the development of a joint MEPIELAN Centre – UNEP/MAP international postgraduate programme on Mediterranean Environmental Governance and Sustainability was taken by MEPIELAN Centre and was repeatedly raised by its Director, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, during  the Meetings and Conferences of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention system (2015-2017), as well as during the 17th Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) Meeting (July 2017), and it has been reflected in the Reports  of all these Meetings.

In the light of this and pursuance of a further exploration and elaboration of this in initiative, UNEP/MAP Coordinating Unit in cooperation with MEPIELAN Centre organized a closed international workshop at its premises on 23 November 2017. At the workshop, the UNEP/MAP Secretariat to the Barcelona Convention, was represented by Mr. Gaetano Leone (UNEP/MAP Coordinator), Ms. Tatjana Hema (UNEP/MAP Deputy Coordinator), Dr. Ilias Mavroeidis (UNEP/MAP Governance Officer), Ms. Luisa Rodriguez Lucas (UNEP/MAP Legal Officer), and Ms. Gyorgyi Gurban (UNEP/MAP Project Manager (EcAp)). MEPIELAN Centre, was represented by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, Dr. Alexandros Kailis, and Dr. Socrates Zachos. 

The following collaborating institutions were invited and participated in this workshop: the University of Milan-Bicocca (Italy), represented by Professor Tullio Scovazzi; the Istanbul Bilgi University Law Faculty (Turkey), represented by Professor Nilufer Oral; the University of Valencia (Spain), represented by Professor José Juste-Ruiz; and, the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and National Resource Governance (C-EENRG), University of Cambridge (UK), represented by Dr. Maria Augusta Paim

The International Workshop was welcomed by the Coordinator of UNEP/MAP, Mr. Gaetano Leone who set the tone of the workshop in his opening remarks, underlining the importance and the impact of this innovative Educational Programme on the promotion of the environmental governance and sustainability in the Mediterranean and beyond. The Director of MEPIELAN Centre, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, made a presentation of the basic proposal on the UNEP/MAP – MEPIELAN Centre Postgraduate Joint Educational Programme in Mediterranean Environmental Governance and Sustainable Development . In his presentation, Professor Raftopoulos set the strategic and academic objectives of the Joint Postgraduate Programme. Referring to the strategic objectives, he explained the multi-dimensional function of the Postgraduate Programme as an educational implementation of: 
  • specific provisions the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols
  • the Mediterranean Strategy on Sustainable Development (MSSD) and, specifically, its Objectives 6 “Governance: Improving Governance in Support of Sustainable Development” and 4 “Addressing Climate Change as a Priority Issue for the Mediterranean”
  • the UNEP/MAP Mid-Term Strategy 2016-2021 adopted by the 19th MOP (2015) and, specifically to its section referring to “Governance as the Overarching Theme”
  • the UNEP/MAP - Civil Society Cooperation and Partnership and the established Code of Conduct adopted by the 16th MOP (2006)
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 4, 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) effectively contributing to policy coherence.
Regarding the academic objectives, he highlighted the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach of the Programmeaiming to examine the creative linkage of environmental law and governance with political science, ecology, management, technology, biological  sciences, climate science, economics and social sciences, but also addressing the crucial ethical dimension. In parallel, he pointed out that the Programme will create a high quality international network of international organizations expertise, academics and students, thus contributing to the visibility and multifarious impact of the Barcelona Convention system.

Analyzing the content of the Programme, Professor Raftopoulos provided a presentation of the two parts of the Programme, the general part (International Environmental Governance in the Mediterranean Region, Law of the Sea and Sustainable Governance in the Mediterranean, International Environmental Negotiation and Diplomacy in the Mediterranean Context) and the special part (Public Participation and Sustainability Governance in the Mediterranean Region, Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean, Specific Issues of Law and Governance for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainability of the Mediterranean Sea Region and their Relation to Sustainable Development Goals, Investment and Environment in the Mediterranean - Legal, Political and Economic Perspectives). On the Organization of the Programme, he outlined the teaching methods, the international pool of teaching personnel, students’ entry requirements, students support and follow-up experience. He referred to the need for mobilization of resources and sponsors, presented the promotion indicators of the Programme, the instruments for its communication, and the establishment of a review mechanism of the Programme. Finally, he  underlined the importance of creating the appropriate institutional cooperative framework for the Joint MEPIELAN Centre/Panteion University of Athens and UNEP/MAP  International Postgraduate Programme with the collaboration of the academic institutions participating in the workshop.

After a thorough and constructive discussion of the Programme, coordinated by Dr. Ilias Mavroeidis, UNEP/MAP Governance Officer, the workshop meeting adopted the Programme proposal and agreed on an Action Plan as an outcome of the meeting. The Action Programme, entitled “Outcome of the Meeting between UNEPP/MAP and MEPIELAN Center and the Steering Committee on Educational Programme on “Sustainable Marine Governance in the Mediterranean (23 November 2017)” and designed by the UNEP/MAP Secretariat, sets forth a series of actions (specification of modalities of cooperation, funding and resource mobilization strategy, scholarships, legal arrangements, selection criteria, and communication strategies) the responsible partners (UNEP/MAP Secretariat, MEPIELAN Centre, MEPIELAN Centre – C-EENRG – Cooperating Universities) and the timeline for the effective and efficient organization and implementation of the Educational Programme. 

Finally, the meeting set up the Steering Committee of the Programme as follows: UNEP/MAP representatives, Prof. Evangelos Raftopoulos MEPIELAN Director (MEPIELAN Centre/Panteion University of Athens),  Prof. Nilufer Oral (Istanbul Bilgi University), Tullio Scovazzi (University of Milan/Bicocca), Jose Juste Ruiz (University of Valencia), and Maria Augusta Paim (C-EENRG)

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