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Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

Barcelona Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean

 

SUMMARY OF:

Convention on the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution (Barcelona Convention)

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

Protocol for the prevention of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft (Dumping Protocol)

Decision 77/585/EEC concluding the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the Protocol for the prevention of the pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft

Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources (Land-based Sources of pollution Protocol)

Amendments to the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources

Decision 1999/801/EC on accepting the amendments to the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources

Decision 83/101/EEC concluding the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources

Protocol concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean (Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity Protocol)

Decision 84/132/EEC — conclusion of the Protocol concerning Mediterranean specially protected areas

Decision 1999/800/EEC on concluding the Protocol concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean, and on accepting the annexes to that Protocol (Barcelona Convention)

Protocol concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (Prevention and Emergency Protocol)

Decision 2004/575/EC — conclusion of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea

Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol)

Decision 2010/631/EU — conclusion of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (Offshore Protocol)

Decision 2013/5/EU — accession of the EU to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE CONVENTION, DECISIONS AND PROTOCOLS?

  • The main aim of the convention and the protocols is to protect the marine environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The decisions allow the EU to accede to the convention and protocols, as well as to integrate amendments, when appropriate.

KEY POINTS

Barcelona Convention

  • There are 22 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, an international convention involving 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (including 8 EU countries — Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Spain) and the EU.
  • The convention requires its parties to take all measures, individually or jointly, to protect and enhance the Mediterranean marine environment and coastal region in order to contribute to sustainable development.

The aims of the convention are:

  • protecting the marine environment and coastal region through action aimed at preventing and reducing pollution and, as far as possible, eliminating it, whether it is due to activities on land or at sea;
  • assessing and controlling pollution;
  • carrying out the sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources;
  • integrating the environment into economic and social development;
  • protecting natural and cultural heritage;
  • strengthening solidarity between countries bordering the Mediterranean; and
  • contributing to improving quality of life.

The convention’s Contracting Parties commit to:

  • introducing a system of cooperation and implementing an Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme with information and assessments to protect marine environment and coastal region of the Mediterranean and reduce or eliminate pollution in the Mediterranean in view to achieving Good Environmental Status*;
  • establishing marine protected areas (known as MPAs) and Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (known as SPAMIs);
  • implementing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)*;
  • addressing land-based sources of pollution;
  • addressing sea-based sources of pollution;
  • contingency planning;
  • cooperating in the fields of science and technology;
  • working out appropriate procedures for the determination of liability and compensation for damage resulting from pollution deriving from violations of the provisions of the convention.

It was amended in 1995. The main amendments concerned:

  • the extension of the Convention’s geographical field of application to the coast;
  • the application of the precautionary principle;
  • the application of the ‘polluter pays’ principle — see summary;
  • the promotion of impact assessments;
  • the protection and preservation of biological diversity;
  • combating pollution from cross-border movements of dangerous waste;
  • access to information and public participation.

The convention has 7 protocols attached to it :

Dumping Protocol

  • Covers only pollution of the region of the Mediterranean Sea caused by ships and aircraft.
  • Bans the dumping of certain types of waste and matter (certain toxic compounds, mercury, cadmium, plastics, crude oil, etc.).
  • Requires the prior issue of national permits for other types of waste or matter such as arsenic, lead, copper, zinc, chrome, nickel, containers, scrap metal, and certain types of pesticides.

Prevention and Emergency Protocol

  • Incorporates into the Barcelona Convention rules for cooperation between parties on preventing and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution in the Mediterranean caused by ships.
  • Also endeavours to promote the development and implementation of international regulations adopted on the base of the International Maritime Organisation.
  • Sets out operational measures which the parties must take in the event of pollution caused by ships (evaluation, elimination/reduction, information measures), as well as emergency measures which must be taken on board ships, in offshore installations and in ports (in particular the availability of and compliance with emergency plans).

Land-based Sources of pollution Protocol

  • Covers pollution caused by discharges from rivers, outfalls, canals or other watercourses, or pollution emanating from any other source or activity (including airborne pollution of land-based origin) within the territory of a party to the protocol.
  • Lists the substances of which discharge is prohibited, and the factors which should be taken into account in order to eliminate pollution from these substances.
  • Also lists substances for which discharge is subject to authorisation by the competent national authorities.
  • Stipulates cooperation regarding research and information, and the adoption of appropriate programmes, measures and standards aimed at reducing or eliminating the targeted substances.

Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity Protocol

  • The protocol concerns:
    • specially protected areas in the Mediterranean and specially protected areas of Mediterranean importance;
    • the protection of natural resources in the Mediterranean region;
    • the preservation of the diversity of the gene pool; and
    • the protection of certain natural sites by creating a series of specially preserved areas.
  • Requires parties to develop guidelines for establishing and managing protected areas and lists a certain number of appropriate measures which the parties must adopt, such as:
    • banning the discharge or unloading of waste;
    • regulating the introduction of any non-indigenous or genetically modified species.
  • Sets out national or local measures which the Parties must take in order to protect animal and plant species throughout the Mediterranean area.

Offshore Protocol

  • Covers a wide range of exploration and exploitation activities, and addresses a number of issues including:
    • permit requirements;
    • removal of abandoned or disused installations;
    • use and removal of harmful substances;
    • liability and compensation requirements; and
    • coordination with other parties of the Barcelona convention at regional level.
  • Parties are required, individually or through bilateral or multilateral cooperation, to take all appropriate measures to prevent, abate, combat and control pollution in the protocol area resulting from offshore exploration and exploitation activities.
  • They also commit to using the best available, most environmentally effective and economically appropriate techniques.

Hazardous Wastes Protocol

  • Requires parties to cooperate when a huge quantity of oil and/or other harmful substances in the Mediterranean Sea, whether accidental or cumulative, presents a serious and imminent danger to the marine environment, the coast or the economic, health or ecological interests of one or more parties.
  • Cooperation focuses on:
    • drawing up emergency plans;
    • promoting measures for combating oil pollution in the sea;
    • monitoring and exchanging information regarding the state of the Mediterranean Sea;
    • disseminating information on the organisation of resources; and
    • on new methods to prevent and combat pollution, and developing research programmes on the subject.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol

  • Aims to set up a common basis for ICZM based on an ecosystem approach in the Mediterranean, entered into force on 24 March 2011.
  • ICZM has 6 aims:
    • sustainably developing coastal zones by rational planning of activities;
    • preserving coastal zones;
    • sustainable use of natural resources;
    • preserving ecosystems and coastlines;
    • preventing and reducing natural disasters and climate change;
    • improving cooperation.

The EU is a party to all of the above protocols except the Hazardous Wastes Protocol.

DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE

  • The Barcelona Convention entered into force on 15 April 1978.
  • The Dumping Protocol entered into force on 15 April 1978.
  • The Land-based Sources of pollution Protocol entered into force on 6 November 1983.
  • The Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity Protocol entered into force on 12 December 1999.
  • The Prevention and Emergency Protocol entered into force on 25 June 2004.
  • The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol entered into force on 24 March 2011.
  • The Offshore Protocol entered into force on 29 March 2013.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Good Environmental Status: defined in the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC — see summary) as the environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive within their intrinsic conditions, and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is sustainable, thus safeguarding the potential for uses and activities by current and future generations.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management: a dynamic process for the sustainable management and use of coastal zones, taking into account at the same time the fragility of coastal ecosystems and landscapes, the diversity of activities and uses, interactions between the latter, the maritime vocation of some of the latter, and their impact both on land and sea.

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Convention on the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution (Barcelona Convention) (OJ L 240, 19.9.1977, pp. 3-11)

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

Protocol for the prevention of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft (OJ L 240, 19.9.1977, pp. 12-34)

Council Decision 77/585/EEC of 25 July 1977 concluding the Convention for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and the Protocol for the prevention of the pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by dumping from ships and aircraft (OJ L 240, 19.9.1977, pp. 1-2)

Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources (OJ L 67, 12.3.1983, pp. 3-18)

Amendments to the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources (OJ L 322, 14.12.1999, pp. 20-31)

Council Decision 1999/801/EC of 22 October 1999 on accepting the amendments to the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources (Barcelona Convention) (OJ L 322, 14.12.1999, p. 18-31)

Council Decision 83/101/EEC of 28 February 1983 concluding the Protocol for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution from land-based sources (OJ L 67, 12.3.1983, pp. 1-2)

Protocol concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean (OJ L 322, 14.12.1999, pp. 3-17)

Council Decision 84/132/EEC of 1 March 1984 on the conclusion of the Protocol concerning Mediterranean specially protected areas (OJ L 68, 10.3.1984, pp. 36-37)

Council Decision 1999/800/EEC of 22 October 1999 on concluding the Protocol concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean, and on accepting the annexes to that Protocol (Barcelona Convention) (OJ L 322, 14.12.1999, pp. 1-2)

Protocol concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (OJ L 261, 6.8.2004, pp. 41-46)

Council Decision 2004/575/EC of 29 April 2004 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, concerning cooperation in preventing pollution from ships and, in cases of emergency, combating pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (OJ L 261, 6.8.2004, p. 40)

Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (OJ L 34, 4.2.2009, pp. 19-28)

Council Decision 2010/631/EU of 13 September 2010 concerning the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (OJ L 279, 23.10.2010, pp. 1-2)

Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (OJ L 4, 9.1.2013, pp. 15-33)

Council Decision 2013/5/EU of 17 December 2012 on the accession of the European Union to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil (OJ L 4, 9.1.2013, pp. 13-14)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Notice concerning the entry into force of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf and the seabed and its subsoil to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (OJ L 187, 6.7.2013, p. 1)

Notice concerning the entry into force of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (OJ L 242, 20.9.2011, p. 1)

last update 30.06.2020

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