Barcelona Convention - COP 21

12/02/2019 to 12/05/2019

The 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols will take place on 2-5 December 2019 in Naples, Italy. 

Ministers representing the 22 Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, the Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Inger Andersen, representatives of stakeholders and distinguished guests will attend the Ministerial Segment on 4 December 2019. A High-Level Panel discussion will take place at the opening of the Ministerial Segment. The High-Level Segment will notably endorse the Naples Ministerial Declaration.

The Interactive Ministerial Policy Review Session will serve to provide strategic guidance for the preparation of the next UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy, considering the global context. The discussions are expected to focus on issues such as Marine Litter, Marine Protected Areas and Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Blue Economy (with a focus on Integrated Coastal Zone Management/Marine Spatial Planning and Sustainable Tourism).

COP 21 will consider for adoption a number of draft decisions related to governance of the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention system as well as to thematic issues. Furthermore, COP 21 will discuss and eventually adopt the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work and Budget for 2020-2021.

A number of important draft decisions pertain also to operational themes related to the protection of the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean:

  • a roadmap for a possible designation of the Mediterranean Sea area as an emission control area for Sulphur oxides;
  • six regional plans to reduce or prevent marine pollution from land-based sources;
  • new standards and guidelines to curb pollution under three Protocols of the Barcelona Convention addressing dumping, offshore and land-based sources;
  • guidelines on Adopt-a-Beach activities aimed at curbing marine litter and on phasing out single-use plastic bags;
  • common standards and guidelines related to offshore activities;
  • a common regional framework for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in line with the ICZM Protocol of the Barcelona Convention;
  • identification and conservation of Sites of Particular Ecological Interest in the Mediterranean, including Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance;
  • the Strategic Action Programme for the conservation of Biological Diversity (SAP BIO) in the Mediterranean Region; the strategy on Monk Seal; Action Plans concerning Marine Turtles, Cartilaginous Fishes and Marine Vegetation; and the Classification of Benthic Marine Habitat Types for the Mediterranean Region and Reference List of Marine and Coastal Habitat Types in the Mediterranean;
  • updated guidelines regulating the placement of artificial reefs at sea;
  • a set of regional measures aimed at supporting the development of green and circular businesses and stimulating demand for sustainable products.

Media accreditation:

Media participation in COP21 is subject to accreditation by the UNEP/MAP—Barcelona Convention Secretariat. Financial support may be provided for up to 10 professional journalists from Mediterranean countries. Applicants for financial support are required to submit their accreditation requests no later than 25 October 2019. Accreditation requests (accreditation form and required documents) should be sent by email to, copying, no later than 25 November 2019.

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