• Sections
Note: IWlearn.net is being upgraded and will be re-launched. In the meantime, we will only update certain parts of the existing website. We appreciate your patience as we bring you a new user experience.
You are here: Home / Documents / Legal Frameworks / Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution

Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution

by admin last modified Oct 27, 2013 09:06 AM
The Compliance Committee sees its role as “to facilitate implementation and compliance with obligations under the Barcelona Convention, taking into account the special situation of each of the Contracting Parties, in particular those which are developing countries.” The Compliance Committee will consider reports of non-compliance from one Contracting Party regarding another Contracting Party, inquiries from a Contracting Party regarding its own compliance efforts, and referrals from the Secretariat based on its national assessments, and will also, on its own, evaluate the biannual reports submitted by the Contracting Parties. Domestic Liability and Compensation Regimes for Damage Resulting from Pollution of the Marine Environment : Article 16 of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, addresses compliance of private actors, as well as of the Contracting Parties, by obliging the Contracting Parties to “cooperate in the formulation and adoption of appropriate rules and procedures for the determination of liability and compensation for damage resulting from pollution of the marine environment in the Mediterranean Sea Area.” In 2008, the Contracting Parties adopted Guidelines for such regimes and have since issued a uniform questionnaire to regularly evaluate the liability regime of each Contracting Party.

LME

The Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention are Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, the European Union (“EU”), Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Furthermore, the amended Treaty of the European Union grants the EU exclusive competence in the area of “conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy.”

With the exception of Montenegro, all of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention are also members of the Dumping Protocol. Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and Libya have not accepted the 1995 amendments to the Dumping Protocol.

The Contracting Parties to the current (2002) Emergency Protocol are Croatia, Cyprus, the EU, France, Greece, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, and Turkey. In addition, Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia were members of the 1995 Emergency Protocol, but have not yet ratified the current Emergency Protocol.

All of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention are members of the Land-Based Sources Protocol. But, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Lebanon, and Libya have not accepted the 1996 amendments to the Land-Based Sources Protocol.

The Contracting Parties to the current (1995) Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol are Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Cyprus, the EU, Egypt, France, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Israel, and Libya were members of the 1982 Specially Protected Areas Protocol, but they have not yet ratified the current Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol. Albania, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey are the only countries that have ratified the Hazardous Wastes Protocol.

Albania, Cyprus, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia have ratified the Offshore Protocol. Albania, the EU, France, Slovenia, and Spain have ratified the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol. Both the Offshore Protocol and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol are not yet in force.


The Barcelona Convention covers the Mediterranean Sea, including its gulfs and seas (other than the Black Sea), bounded to the west by the Straits of Gibraltar. According to Article 1(2) of the amended Barcelona Convention, any Contracting Party is permitted to extend the Barcelona Convention’s application within its own territory. In addition, various Protocols also extend the Barcelona Convention’s geographic coverage to include: the land that is drained into the Mediterranean Sea Area (the hydrologic basin); the waters on the landward side of the area’s boundaries and extending, in the case of watercourses, up to the freshwater limit; any waters, including marshes and ground waters, communicating with the Mediterranean Sea; the seabed and subsoil; and the coastal areas, including wetlands, designated by the Contracting Parties.

Moreover, the Land-Based Sources Protocol applies to polluting discharges, from anywhere within the territory of the Contracting Parties, into the atmosphere, so long as a hazardous amount of the substance “could be transported to the Mediterranean Sea Area under prevailing meteorological conditions.” Furthermore, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which is not yet in force) would cover the “coastal zone,” which is defined to cover ecological and resource systems involving marine, land, and human interaction. This zone would expressly include territorial seas, while the landward boundary would remain subject to each Contracting Party’s discretion.


The functions of the Barcelona Convention structure, which includes the Protocols, are described in the MAP II. These include: integration of environmental priorities and economic development in national policy; assessment, prevention, and elimination of pollution; conservation of nature, landscapes and sites of ecological or cultural value; and broadening both public awareness of threats to the Mediterranean and public participation in conservation and remedial measures.

Under Article 2(a) of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, “pollution” is defined to mean “the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment . . . which results, or is likely to result, in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea, impairment of quality for use of seawater and reduction of amenities.”


A network of international, regional, and national entities facilitates the functions envisioned by the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols. The roles and coordination of these entities were reinvigorated by the Contracting Parties in 2008.

  • Meeting of the Contracting Parties: The Contracting Parties meet at least biannually to, among other things: (i) review national inventories of marine pollution; (ii) review progress on implementing the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols, and recommendations adopted by the Contracting Parties; (iii) consider amendments to the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols, and annexes; (iv) establish additional working groups as needed; and (v) approve a budget.
  • Secretariat: The Barcelona Convention and certain Protocols designate the UNEP, as the Secretariat, to perform various roles relevant to their implementation, including to: (i) advise concerning the development of national legislation or policy and international rules implementing the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols; (ii) monitor implementation by the Contracting Parties; (iii) coordinate with other international bodies and act as repository of other relevant agreements entered into by any of the Contracting Parties; (iv) represent the Barcelona Convention to the public and non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”); (v) disseminate information among the Contracting Parties, including lessons learned in implementation; (vi) coordinate meetings and reports of the Contracting Parties; and (vii) advise regarding financial arrangements for the Barcelona Convention. The Secretariat is also generally responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which is not yet in force).
  • Bureau: According to Article 19 of the amended Barcelona Convention, the Contracting Parties are directly represented on an ongoing basis by six rotating members of the Bureau. In anticipation of the Meeting of the Contracting Parties, the Bureau regularly consults with and advises the Secretariat based on status reports prepared by the Secretariat.
  • MED POL and the Regional Activity Centres: As part of MAP I, the Contracting Parties authorized the UNEP Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean (“MED POL”). Through MED POL, UNEP monitors and studies pollution in the Mediterranean Sea area, and facilitates National Action Plans to prevent and remedy pollution as part of the Contracting Parties’ implementation of the Dumping Protocol, the Land-Based Sources Protocol, and the Hazardous Wastes Protocol. Several Regional Activity Centres (“RACs”) have also been created to support implementation of the MAP. Some RACs are administered by, or report to, national agencies. One is administered by an NGO. One is administered by a specialized agency of the United Nations These RACs provide:
    • Data collection and modeling of the relationship between the environment and development;
    • Planning of integrated coastal management and training of local bodies;
    • Management plans for protected species, monitoring tools, data sharing among specialists and other organizations, and public awareness of biodiversity issues;
    • Communication services and technical support to the Secretariat and other entities associated with the Barcelona Convention and related public awareness projects;
    • Development and dissemination of clean technology through research, training, and expert exchange;
    • Assistance to states to prevent and respond to marine pollution emergencies; and
    • Protection and sustainable development of historic sites approved by the Contracting Parties.
  • Executive Coordination Panel: In 2008, the Contracting Parties agreed to establish an Executive Coordination Panel chaired by the Secretariat and made up of the directors of MED POL and the RACs. This body meets quarterly to coordinate their operation and to improve accountability to the Contracting Parties.
  • National Focal Points: Each Contracting Party has established a National Focal Point that is responsible for domestic implementation of the MAP goals. Representatives of the National Focal Points consult with the Secretariat between Meetings of the Contracting Parties to review output of working groups commissioned by the Contracting Parties and to draft decisions for the Contracting Parties’ adoption. The Contracting Parties also approved a role for National Focal Points to coordinate directly with MED POL and the RACs.
  • Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development: In 1996, the Contracting Parties established a Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (“MCSD”). The MCSD includes representatives of the 22 Contracting Parties, as well as 21 additional members representing local authorities, businesses, the scientific community, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations. Three additional members are selected for expertise specific to the topical focus of the MCSD during its term. The MCSD provides input to the Contracting Parties regarding the alignment of the MAP activities with sustainable development goals and makes proposals within the MAP framework. The MCSD facilitated adoption in 2005 of a Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (“MSSD”) and assists individual Contracting Parties in developing a National Strategy for Sustainable Development.

In 1995, the EU established the Euro-Med Partnership for engaging the countries of the Mediterranean basin. In 2008, the partners (27 EU member states and 16 countries from the southern Mediterranean, Africa and the Middle East) re-launched the framework as the Union for the Mediterranean, with a focus on projects concerning the economy, the environment, energy, health, migration and culture. The Union for the Mediterranean also has a secretariat, which is based in Barcelona, Spain. EU legislation ties all financial assistance to its Mediterranean neighbors to the agreements made within this framework.

In 2005, the Union for the Mediterranean (then Euro-Med) adopted a five-year work program, which committed to implementing the MSSD that was established under the Barcelona Convention. The partnership agreed to share lessons learned about sustainable development in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea across the Mediterranean. The partnership further agreed to develop a “road map for de-polluting the Mediterranean by 2020…using inter alia the MSSD and the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan…while providing adequate financial and technical assistance to this end.” The European Commission (“EC”) Environment Directorate-General has taken on these goals under its Horizon 2020 initiative.

Meanwhile, the Contracting Parties have tasked MED POL with improving coordination of the MAP Program with the EU member states’ implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Directive, and the Horizon 2020 initiative. The EC has also dedicated a special consultant to coordinate the EC’s Horizon 2020 initiative with the MAP Program.

In addition, the European Investment Bank (“EIB”) has agreed to finance bankable projects that address particularly severe pollution in coastal areas identified by the Secretariat. The EIB’s Mediterranean Hot Spot Investment Program involves Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestine Authority, Syria and Tunisia.

The Global Environment Facility (“GEF”) also provides significant financing for the implementation of the Barcelona Convention goals. See Funding and Financing. For example, the Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem (“SP for the Med LME”), with financial support from GEF and other partners and the involvement of the Contracting Parties, regional and international organizations, and NGOs, aims to provide a coordinated and strategic approach for the policy, legal and institutional reforms in order to reverse the degradation of the Mediterranean ecosystem, including its coastal habitats and biodiversity. Project partners include: the Mediterranean Action Plan Coordinating Unit, the RAC for Cleaner Production, the RAC for Specially Protected Areas, the Priority Actions Programme RAC, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization International Hydrological Programme, the World Wildlife Fund Mediterranean Programme Office, Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean, Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development, MED POL, the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. SP for the Med LME is currently the largest project in the history of the Mediterranean. A Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis identified 101 hotspots of environmental concern, and two Strategic Action Programs have been adopted that propose remedial actions to reduce land-based sources of marine pollution and to protect biodiversity and habitats. Projects under SP for the Med LME are scheduled to be carried out in Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey, as well as with the Palestinian Authority. SP for the Med LME, over its five-year course, intends to foster a long-term partnership for joint planning and financing in the region; improve environmental conditions in 15% of the hotspots; promote more sustainable use of coastal resources through integrated water resource management, integrated coastal zone management, and aquifer management; reduce pollution from land-based sources through the use of technology; and promote more sustainable use of fishery resources.


The Meeting of the Contracting Parties is the decision-making body under the Barcelona Convention and the MAP. Meetings take place at least biannually. Two-thirds of the Contracting Parties constitute a quorum, and substantive decisions require a two-thirds majority of the Contracting Parties present who vote or abstain. Secret ballots are permitted. A Contracting Party who is more than 24 months in arrears with its contributions to the budget is not permitted to vote unless the Meeting of the Contracting Parties concludes that the arrears are due to circumstances beyond that Contracting Party’s control. Besides binding decisions, the Contracting Parties also adopt “recommendations” concerning the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols, and the MAP Program generally.

The Secretariat plays a large role in decision making under the Barcelona Convention. The Secretariat prepares reports for the National Focal Points and the Bureau, which, in turn, with the assistance of the Secretariat, prepare draft decisions for consideration at the Meeting of the Contracting Parties. The Contracting Parties may only consider substantive decisions that are supported by a report from the Executive Director of the Secretariat on the administrative and financial implications of those decisions.


The Contracting Parties are obligated to seek a peaceful settlement of disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Barcelona Convention or its Protocols. If the parties to the dispute cannot settle the dispute, they can, upon common agreement, submit the dispute to arbitration. The Barcelona Convention proposes an ad hoc arbitration procedure by which a three-person tribunal will decide disputes, according to the rules of international law and, in particular, the Barcelona Convention and the relevant Protocol(s). The arbitral tribunal will make its decision based on majority vote and may, at the request of one of the parties to the dispute, recommend interim protective measures. The award of the arbitral tribunal is final and binding.

Under Article 12 of the Land-Based Sources Protocol, a Contracting Party whose interests are likely to be prejudiced by land-based pollution originating from the territory of another Contracting Party may require the Contracting Parties to the Land-Based Sources Protocol to address the matter at the Meeting of the Contracting Parties. In addition, Article 14(3) of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which is not yet in force) addresses disputes other than inter-state disputes, providing that “[m]ediation or conciliation procedures and a right of administrative or legal recourse should be available to any stakeholder challenging decisions, acts or omissions, subject to the participation provisions established by the Parties with respect to plans, programmes or projects concerning the coastal zone.”


Under Article 4(3)(d) of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, the Contracting Parties are called upon to promote cooperation among themselves in regards to environmental impact assessment procedures for activities under their jurisdiction that are likely to have a significant adverse effect on the marine environment of other Contracting Parties or other areas beyond their national jurisdiction. This cooperation is to be achieved through notification, exchange of information and consultation.

In addition, the Protocols require the Contracting Parties to share specific information relevant to their subject matters.

  • The Dumping Protocol requires each Contracting Party to report dumping permits issued and the actual dumping that occurs. See Compliance and Monitoring. The Dumping Protocol also provides that each Contracting Party shall, if it considers it appropriate, report suspicions of illegal dumping to other concerned Parties.
  • The Emergency Protocol obliges its Contracting Parties to exchange information, through the RAC in Malta, about domestic regulations, responsible authorities, and best practices regarding the prevention of pollution and emergency response. The Emergency Protocol further requires Contracting Parties to warn the nearest coastal state (and other Parties likely to be affected) of incidents that may result in pollution. Contracting Parties must also inform each other of their planned response to a pollution incident. The Offshore Protocol (which is not yet in force) would require Contracting Parties to ensure that persons on offshore installations follow similar procedures.
  • The Hazardous Wastes Protocol requires its Contracting Parties to report to the Secretariat, as soon as possible, information relating to illegal traffic in hazardous waste. Contracting Parties must also share annual statistics on waste generation and transfer.
  • The Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol calls upon Contracting Parties to regularly exchange information about the characteristics of protected areas and species and to communicate, at the earliest opportunity, information on any situation that might endanger protected ecosystems.
  • The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which is not yet in force) would require Contracting Parties to assess and report the status of coastal erosion and to share information about major natural disasters.

Under Article 13 of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, the Contracting Parties undertake “as far as possible to cooperate…in the fields of science and technology and to exchange data as well as other scientific information for the purpose of this Convention” and further agree to cooperate in the development and sharing of clean production technology. The Protocols elaborate the required cooperation in their respective domains. For example, according to Article 7(f) of the Emergency Protocol, the Contracting Parties are obligated to share information about “new ways in which pollution of the sea by oil and hazardous and noxious substances may be avoided, new measures for combating pollution, new developments in the technology of conducting monitoring and the development of research programmes.” Article 9 of the Land-Based Sources Protocol requires cooperation in “research on inputs, pathways and effects of pollutants and on the development of new methods for their treatment, reduction or elimination, as well as the development of clean production processes to this effect.” Under Article 20 of the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol, the Contracting Parties are called upon to coordinate, to the extent possible, their research and monitoring of protected areas and species. Article 8 of the Hazardous Wastes Protocol mandates cooperation in the development and implementation of clean production methods. Furthermore, Article 22 of the Offshore Protocol and Article 25(2) of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which are not yet in force) call for the cooperation in the research of new technology and emergency procedures and in the research on integrated coastal zone management, respectively. The MED POL and RACs participate in research coordination, information generation, and information sharing. See Organization Structure.

The Protocols expressly provide that progress and lessons learned in implementation will be shared at regular meetings of their respective Contracting Parties. The Contracting Parties have also begun to coordinate national library resources related to marine science.

In 1996, the Contracting Parties and the EU commissioned the development of a data coordinating structure, which led to the Euro Mediterranean (Water) Information System (“EMWIS”). The decision-making and operational structure of EMWIS is independent of the Barcelona Convention structure, but its objectives include developing national water information systems and efforts to transfer know-how in the water sector.

Article 4 of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, also establishes principles to harmonize domestic environmental policies, including the precautionary principle, the “polluter pays” principle, and a technology-based approach considerate of sustainable development needs. To facilitate such harmonization, Article 14(2) of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, suggests that the Secretariat may assist Contracting Parties in drafting environmental legislation that is in compliance with the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols. The Protocols generally establish or call for the development of baseline measures to be implemented in national regulations, but do not require absolute harmonization of law. The Barcelona Convention and certain Protocols promote harmonization by requiring technical assistance to developing countries.


Article 6(4) of the Offshore Protocol (which is not yet in force) requires notification of the other Contracting Parties, through a registry at the Secretariat, when authorizing exploration or exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea area.

Under Article 6(4) of the Hazardous Wastes Protocol (which has not been widely ratified), a Contracting Party permitting the export or import of hazardous waste must notify and receive approval of the state through whose waters the waste would be transported.

Article 29 of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (which is not yet in force) obligates the Contracting Parties to “cooperate by means of notification, exchange of information and consultation” when proposed plans “are likely to have a significant adverse effect on the coastal zones” of other parties.


The Meeting of the Contracting Parties biannually approves a Programme Budget. The MAP Program is primarily funded by the Contracting Parties’ contributions to the Mediterranean Trust Fund (“MTF”), of which the UNEP is the trustee. The Contracting Parties’ relative contribution levels derive from the United Nations assessment scale.

The Contracting Parties approved expenditures over 2010-2011 of approximately 15.7 million euros. Total administrative and operating costs are projected to be approximately $5.2 million euros in both 2010 and 2011. The Contracting Parties also agreed to establish an operating reserve of 15% of annual expenditures. The Contracting Parties expect to fund 40% of the total budget through contributions to the MTF, with France, Spain and Italy being the largest donors. The in-kind contributions of the countries hosting the Secretariat and RACs will fund another 40% of the budget. The UNEP, the World Health Organization, and the International Atomic Energy Agency will also provide about 2% of the budget through in-kind and cash contributions. The EC will directly contribute approximately 4% to the Barcelona Convention budget, and GEF will contribute another 2%. Drawdown on and interest from the revolving fund is expected to provide another 4%. The 2010 budget nevertheless foresees a 1.4 million euro shortfall (over 8% of the total budget), which the Secretariat expects to raise from these and other donors.

Besides the direct contributions to the Barcelona Convention budget, GEF also committed to a 5-year funding program (from 2008 to 2013) of over US $12.5 million for regional activities under the SP for the Med LME. See Relationships. SP for the Med LME also receives partnership funding from other international and private organizations. The GEF project includes a separate Investment Fund to finance implementation of technologies and methodologies to reduce pollution (particularly wastewater) and to manage biodiversity. GEF has committed up to US $85 million to this Investment Fund, and expects to receive additional contributions from other donors.


The goal of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols, and the MAP is to improve the environment in the Mediterranean area for the benefit of all the countries and individuals in the region.


The Contracting Parties have set up mechanisms concerning the monitoring and enforcement of compliance with their obligations under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols. Certain Protocols establish independent means for monitoring compliance.

Compliance Committee: In 2008, the Contracting Parties established a Compliance Committee to consider, among other things, “actual or potential non-compliance by individual Parties with the provisions of the Convention and its Protocols.” The Compliance Committee consists of seven representatives of different Contracting Parties, on a rotating basis. The Compliance Committee sees its role as “to facilitate implementation and compliance with obligations under the Barcelona Convention, taking into account the special situation of each of the Contracting Parties, in particular those which are developing countries.” The Compliance Committee will consider reports of non-compliance from one Contracting Party regarding another Contracting Party, inquiries from a Contracting Party regarding its own compliance efforts, and referrals from the Secretariat based on its national assessments, and will also, on its own, evaluate the biannual reports submitted by the Contracting Parties. The Compliance Committee must report its findings to the Contracting Parties, but may not apply sanctions. Instead, it may take steps to facilitate compliance, such as requesting an action plan and interim progress reports. The Compliance Committee will not act without consensus, except as a last resort. The Meeting of the Contracting Parties may act on the Compliance Committee’s report with further facilitative steps, including capacity building, and may publicize the conclusion that a Contracting Party is not observing its obligations. In cases deemed to be of serious, ongoing or repeated non-compliance, the Contracting Parties are obligated to consider and undertake any action that may be needed to achieve the purposes of the Barcelona Convention and the Protocols.

Uniform Reporting Format and Effectiveness Indicators: Each Contracting Party is obligated to report to the Meeting of the Contracting Parties its progress on implementing the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols, and the adopted recommendations – including the effectiveness of measures undertaken. The Contracting Parties, in 2008, adopted a uniform and comprehensive reporting format, and online reporting systems are being developed. In 2009, the Contracting Parties provisionally adopted quantitative indicators concerning the effective implementation of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

Mutual Verification by the Contracting Parties: Article 13 of the Hazardous Wastes Protocol calls upon the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention to verify the compliance of a Contracting Party with the Hazardous Wastes Protocol at the request of any other Contracting Party. In addition, Article 14 of the Dumping Protocol requires the Contracting Parties to review, at each ordinary meeting, the permits issued by each Contracting Party and the dumping that occurred in the interim.

Domestic Liability and Compensation Regimes for Damage Resulting from Pollution of the Marine Environment: Article 16 of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, addresses compliance of private actors, as well as of the Contracting Parties, by obliging the Contracting Parties to “cooperate in the formulation and adoption of appropriate rules and procedures for the determination of liability and compensation for damage resulting from pollution of the marine environment in the Mediterranean Sea Area.” In 2008, the Contracting Parties adopted Guidelines for such regimes and have since issued a uniform questionnaire to regularly evaluate the liability regime of each Contracting Party. The Guidelines do not provide for “subsidiary liability” of the Contracting Parties, but the Explanatory Text to the Guidelines recommends broad liability for private actors. The Explanatory Text clarifies that a regime satisfying the obligation of the Barcelona Convention must contain more stringent provisions than instruments already in force, but suggests that “non-EU Contracting Parties should consider adopting national legislation mirroring as far as possible the provisions of the [EU Environmental Liability] Directive.”

Legally Binding Measures and Timetables under the Land-Based Sources Protocol: Article 5 of the Land-Based Sources Protocol obligates the Contracting Parties to adopt national and regional plans to eliminate pollution from land-based sources and activities and specifies that those plans must contain legally binding measures and timetables for implementation. In November 2009, the Contracting Parties adopted three regional plans with binding targets for waste water treatment and the use of certain pollutants. Mandatory deadlines to reduce and eliminate certain chemicals, pesticides, and pollutants that originate from land-based industrial activity and agriculture entered into force in June 2010, with certain concrete measures required to be implemented between 2015 and 2019.


The Barcelona Convention and its Protocols expressly provide for significant involvement of multiple stakeholders. The Contracting Parties included as an objective within MAP II “to mobilize and ensure the participation and involvement of major actors concerned (local and provincial communities, economic and social groups, consumers, etc).” As the entity responsible for maintaining relations and coordinating activities with international organizations and NGOs, the Secretariat is ultimately responsible, under MAP II, to ensure that these organizations have appropriate access to information concerning MAP, and actively participate in MAP activities.

The organizational structure of the Barcelona Convention also provides for the involvement of multiple stakeholders. For example, the majority of delegates to the MCSD represent non-state actors. There was extensive stakeholder involvement in the development, in 2005, of the MSSD by the MCSD. See Organizational Structure and Relationships. Also, private citizens, other than civil servants, may serve as members of the Compliance Committee. In addition, representatives of international organizations and NGOs regularly attend and may contribute to the Meetings of the Contracting Parties and the interim meetings of the National Focal Points.

In addition, approximately 80 NGOs partnered with the MAP Program in 2008. In November 2009, with the input of NGO representatives, the Contracting Parties adopted a formal procedure for the involvement of civil society, with a focus on NGOs in particular. The procedure includes criteria for the accreditation of partner NGOs, a code of conduct detailing the rights and responsibilities of NGO partners, and provides a process for the resolution of disputes between NGOs and MAP bodies. In the 2010-2011 biennium budget, the Contracting Parties approved 105,000 euros to promote “NGO participation in MAP decision making process.” The new procedure for involvement of civil society does not address cooperation with the private sector.


The Barcelona Convention contains no provision for its dissolution. However, according to Article 34 of the Barcelona Convention, as amended, Contracting Parties may withdraw from the Barcelona Convention by submitting written notification to the Depositary (Spain). Any Contracting Party that withdraws from the Barcelona Convention is considered to have withdrawn from all Protocols to which it was a Contracting Party, and withdrawal from all the Protocols constitutes withdrawal from the Barcelona Convention.


The Contracting Parties have broadened the scope of their cooperation over time in several ways. First, the geographic coverage of their agreements has been extended under certain Protocols. See Geographic Scope. Second, the objectives of their cooperation have grown, from “prevent[ion], abate[ment], and combat” of pollution in the Mediterranean area, to “eliminat[ion]” of pollution and “enhance[ment] of the marine environment…to contribute towards its sustainable development.” This wider goal incorporates a new emphasis on “protect[ion] and preserv[ation of] biological diversity.” In addition, the Contracting Parties now foresee cooperation on matters involving risk to coastal development, including natural disasters and climate change.


See

  • United Nations Environment Programme, Mediterranean Action Plan for the Barcelona Convention Website, available at http://www.unepmap.org.
  • Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector, available at http://www.semide.net.
  • Report of the 16th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols, 3-5 November 2009, available at http://195.97.36.231/acrobatfiles/09IG19_8_Eng.pdf.
  • State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean – 2009, UNEP and MAP, available at http://www.planbleu.org/publications/SoED2009_EN.pdf.
  • Evangelos Raftopoulos, The Barcelona Convention System for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution: An International Trust at Work, 7 J. ESTUARINE & COASTAL L. 27 (1992).
  • Evangelos Raftopoulos, “Relational Governance” for Marine Pollution Incidents in the Mediterranean: Transformations, Development and Prospects, 16 J. MARINE & COASTAL L. 41 (2001).
  • Antoinette Hildering, Andrea M. Kessen, and Helena F.M.V. van Rijswick, Tackling pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from land-based sources by an integrated ecosystem approach and the use of the combined international and European legal regimes, 5 UTRECHT L. REV. 80 (2009).
  • Tullio Scovazzi, The Mediterranean Guidelines for the Determination of Environmental Liability and Compensation: The Negotiations for the Instrument and the Question of Damage That Can Be Compensated, MAX PLANCK Y.B. U.N. L. 183 (2009).

There are currently no items in this folder.

Depending on the project scope the treaty may not be applicable to all projects
Document Actions