COP 23 – Portoroz, Slovenia

The 23rd Meeting (COP 23) 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 from 5-8 December 2023 in Portoroz, Slovenia. In accordance with the Rules of Procedure for Meetings and Conferences of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, COP 23 will review the progress achieved during the 2022-2023 biennium, consider strategic documents, and adopt decisions, including on the Programme of Work (PoW) and budget for the 2024-2025 biennium. The overarching goal is to enhance the protection of the Mediterranean region’s marine and coastal environment in the context of sustainable development.

Meetings of the Focal Points of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) constitute a crucial milestone in the two-year cycle of the work of UNEP/MAP and act as a preparatory meeting for the COP. The meeting of MAP Focal Points for the current biennium took place on 12-15 September in Istanbul, Türkiye. In Istanbul the discussion among the MAP Focal Points unfolded around six main headlines that constitute the backbone of the COP 23 agenda:

  • Consolidating the evidence base for the pursuit of Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean.
  • Implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the Mediterranean Region (SAP BIO).
  • Taking aim at the sources of land-based pollution.
  • Ingraining sustainability in the blue economy.
  • Paving the way for UNEP/MAP activities during the 2024-2025 biennium. Enhancing governance, implementation, communication and advocacy.
  • Enhancing governance, implementation, communication and advocacy.

Accredited representatives of the Contracting Parties (21 coastal Mediterranean countries and the European Union) and Observers will participate in COP 23, together with representatives of accredited MAP Partners and Intergovernmental Organizations. Speakers during the opening session will include H.E. Fatma Varank, Deputy Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change of Türkiye, and President of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, H.E. Alenka Bratušek, Minister for Infrastructure, Acting Minister for Natural Resources and Spatial Planning of Slovenia, Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, UNEP Deputy Executive Director and Ms. Tatjana Hema, UNEP/MAP Coordinator. The Ministerial Session of COP 23 will take place on 7 December 2023. The session will focus on the “Green transition in the Mediterranean: from decisions to actions”— a theme articulated by the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols. . The session will feature statements by the heads of delegations of the Contracting Parties and Observer organizations and will culminate in the adoption of the Portoroz Ministerial Declaration. The winner of the 2023 edition of the Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award will receive the Award during the Ministerial Session.

Side-events proposed by Contracting Parties and Observer organizations will also take place from 5-8 December 2023 at the COP 23 venue in Portoroz. For information concerning side-events, please contact polonca.skendzic(at)

Plan Bleu will be present at COP 23, represented by its employees. The opportunity to present the MED2050 report and to vote on the work for the next two years.

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