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A Breakthrough in the fight against pollution in the Mediterranean

by rcooper — last modified Jun 26, 2008 07:24 AM
Legal instrument to combat land-based pollution enters into force.

unepmap.gifAfter several years of negotiations and following the last ratifications by Syria and Croatia, the 1996 amendments to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities have finally entered into force.

The entry into force of the Protocol accelerates the process for Mediterranean countries to develop short term and medium term regional action plans and programmes containing legally binding measures and timetables for their implementation, as stated in art. 15 of the Barcelona Convention.

According to art.15, the plans and the programmes must be approved within one year following the entry into force of the protocol and then become legally binding.

“The entry into force of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities provides the region with a very modern and powerful legal instrument for the elimination of land-based pollution. This is a major breakthrough for MAP and its legal framework, that commits Contracting Parties to enter into a concrete process of pollution reduction with precise targets and deadlines, in order to protect the Mediterranean region”, said UNEP/MAP Coordinator Paul Mifsud.

The MED POL Programme, responsible for assisting the countries in the implementation of the LBS Protocol, has been preparing the ground for the preparation of the above plans and measures through a process started in 1996 that culminated in the adoption of a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) to address pollution from land-based sources and activities and of National Action Plans, recently endorsed by the countries.

“On the basis of the results achieved until now, during last biennium MED POL has started discussing a new strategy related to the implementation of the LBS Protocol and its Art 15 that includes the definition of new priorities, the identification of a differentiation approach for pollution reduction and, as a result, the formulation of action plans and programmes containing measures and timetables for adoption” said Francesco Saverio Civili, MED POL Programme Coordinator.

“These combined elements will give way to the preparation of a legally binding document, which will indicate targets and deadlines for each priority substance. The target for 2009 is to have a set of initial priority substances to be presented at the next Conference Of Parties of the Barcelona Convention in 2009”.

The MEDPOL Programme of UNEP/MAP is the component of MAP responsible for the follow up work related to the implementation of the the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (1980, as amended in 1996), and of the Dumping and Hazardous Wastes Protocols.

The Programme assists Mediterranean countries in the formulation and implementation of pollution monitoring programmes, including pollution control measures and the drafting of action plans aiming to eliminate pollution from land-based sources.

This development gives an additional boost to the de-pollution process launched by UNEP/MAP and MED POL, and supported by the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and other donors, through specific initiatives, such as Horizon 2020 and the new GEF Strategic Partnership.


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