Opening of 20th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention


The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols opened their twentieth ordinary meeting (COP 20) on 17 December 2017, during which they will discuss the progress achieved in the implementation of the programme of work for the 2016-2017 biennium and make policy decisions on activities to enhance environmental protection and sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

The meeting, which takes place in Tirana from 17 to 20 December 2017, is convened by the UN Environment / Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan and is hosted by the Government of Albania. The main theme of the meeting is “Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with focus on Sustainable Development Goal 14: Pollution and Biodiversity”. This will also be the topic of discussion during the high-level session to be held on 19 December, which will lead to the adoption of the Tirana Declaration

The meeting was opened by Ms. Christina Baritaki, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Energy of Greece and President of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties for the 2016-2017 biennium. H.E. Ms Ornela Cuci, Deputy Minister of Environment of Albania, delivered the welcoming address.

On behalf of Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme which acts as Secretariat to the Barcelona Convention, Ms Mette Wilkie, Director of the Ecosystems Division also welcomed the meeting participants and Observers.

The meeting elected the members Bureau of the Contracting Parties which will serve for the 2018-2019 biennium: Albania (President), Italy, Cyprus, and Tunisia (Vice-presidents), and Montenegro (Rapporteur).

The meeting cleared for adoption the following draft Decisions:

  • Revised Reporting Format for the Implementation of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean
  • Governance
  • Implementation and Monitoring of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016–2025 and of the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean

On 17 December, meeting attendees also had the opportunity to participate in two side events: “Synergies: Sub-regional / Regional (EUSAIR – UN Environment/MAP)” organized by Slovenia, and “Protection of deep-sea biodiversity: an opportunity to significantly contribute to SDG-14 in the Mediterranean sea”, organized by OCEANA.

A photo exhibition entitled “Deep colors of the Mediterranean sea”, organized by the Information and Communication Regional Activity Centre of the Mediterranean Action Plan (Info-RAC) will be open for the duration of the meeting.