EcAp for the Mediterranean

SPA/RAC is pleased to share with you its short film entitled “EcAp for the Mediterranean” developed in the framework of the EcAp-Med II Project. This animated film was screened for the first time during the 2016 Forum of MPAs in Tangier (28 Nov. / 1st Dec. 2016).




Marine litter Round Table at Blue Eco Forum, Barcelona

diapositiva1Where are we as to knowledge and instruments to achieve Good Environmental Status regarding Marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea?

Organized by EUCC Mediterranean Centre

Date: Friday 25th November, 14h – 16h
Venue: Maritime Museum, Barcelona
Language: Spanish and English (simultaneous translation)

workshop is an opportunity to wrap up the gains on scientific knowledge and on policy instruments to address marine litter in the Mediterranean since the entry into force of the policies and instruments. The final objective is to assess where the key gaps are which need to be urgently addressed by science and policy to reach GES. This workshop takes place within the Blue Eco Forum.

Litter found in the sea can range from large fishing nets to microscopic-sized litter, often resulting from gradual fragmentation of bigger items. Marine litter is a consequence of our current paradigm of linear use of resources and our inability to fully deal with the volume of waste this produces. It presents a challenge to society and to our economic and political systems to mitigate marine litter damage to our oceans and welfare much more effectively and without delay.

At a global level, UNEP and partners acknowledged the challenge launching on 2012, at the Rio+20 conference, a global initiative on marine litter. In this framework the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Contracting Parties adopted in 2014 an Action Plan for Marine Litter abatement which is a legally binding instrument. The UNEP MAP Ecosystem Approach process is feeding of knowledge and data this process.

The European Commission is playing an active role through marine litter research and policies directed towards solution. There clearly is an increasing awareness about marine litter, which led to the inclusion of marine litter as a separate descriptor within the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). According to the MSFD, Good Environmental Status (GES) for marine litter should be reached in 2020, meaning that ‘the properties and quantities of marine litter do not cause harm to the coastal and marine environment’. For doing so, EU member states embarked on an initial assessment of the state of the marine environment regarding marine litter, put in place monitoring programmes and are adopting programmes of measures for its abatement.

Scientific knowledge is underpinning the process and efforts have been placed on gaining data on quantities, types, distribution, sources, physical and chemical impacts, and so forth in order to be able to set baselines, targets and indicators to quantify progress to litter free seas and oceans and to define effective measures.


Round table with experts interventions followed by a debate with the public.


Introduced and moderated by Carolina Pérez, EUCC Mediterranean Centre

Carolina counts with a long-standing experience with coastal and marine policy studies and projects in Europe and has collaborated with a wide range of stakeholders at national and regional level in the field of monitoring, preventing and management of marine litter. Her experience record includes among others leading the communication component of the EU FP7 project CleanSea and acting as regional partner on an EU  support project on MSFD implementation in the Mediterranean related to monitoring programs and programs of measures with especial focus on marine litter.

Do we have sufficient knowledge? Where are the most urgent gaps?

Maria Ferreira.jpegMaria Ferreira, Coastal & Marine Union-EUCC; member of the Secretariat of the EU MSFD Technical Group Marine Litter)

  • Latest progresses on the work of the Technical Group ML
  • Methodologie to assess “harm” and identify marine litter sources

foto-sarda-263x295Rafael Sardà, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes (CEAB), CSIC

  • Current knowledge on marine litter amounts, composition, distribution and hotspots in the Mediterranean
  • Urgent knowledge gaps to address


CleanSea Amsterdam low resolution-25

Pedro Fernández, EUCC Mediterranean Centre

  • Key findings and recommendations from the interdisciplinar research in PF7 project CleanSea

Are existing policy and instruments adequate? What are we still lacking?

magali-outters-1Magali Outters, Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), UNEP MAP

  • Status of implementation of the Regional Plan
  • Preventive measures pursued by  SCP RAC and main challenges


Marta Martínez-Gil, División para la Protección del Mar, MAPAMA

  • Status of Spanish implementation of EU and UNEP MAP obligations.
  • Measuring the effectiveness and next steps


ann-dom-pic2Ann Dom, Seas at Risk


  • Civil society organisations lobbying for policy instruments at the EU level
  • Major achievements and barriers, next targets


mvtMaria Vidal i Tarrasón, Catalan Waste Agency

  • Role of regional governments implementing these policies
  • Catalan experience and the upcoming initiatives to this end


enrique-agbarEnrique Gutíerrez, Aigües de Barcelona

  • Local action to control marine litter input
  • Sewage system management in Barcelona and metropolitan area

COP 22 will be an Opportunity for the Mediterranean Region to make its Voice Heard

Source: Econostrum

The 22nd session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP22, taking place in Marrakesh from 7th to 18th November, 2016, will be an opportunity for the Mediterranean region to make its voice heard

COP22 starts in Marrakesh (photo F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. COP22 should give concrete form to the undertakings given by states at COP21 in Paris to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees. Drawing up an action plan is becoming an urgent necessity, with 2016 set to be the warmest year since temperature records began. “Holding COP22 in Morocco will allow us to draw attention to the critical situation in the Mediterranean with regard to climate change, take stock of the programmes that are ongoing and set up new partnerships to move forward,” points out Plan Bleu director Anne-France Didier. 

The Mediterranean is known as a climate change hot spot. According to the IPCC, this part of the planet could see temperature increases of 2° to 3°C by 2050 and even 3° to 5° by the year 2100. By the end of this century, sea levels could rise between 40 and 50 cm, with a sharp decrease in rainfall. With water stress caused by pollution and excessive water consumption, brought about by the urbanization of coastal areas, agriculture and an increase in tourism (the region currently attracts one third of the world’s tourists), countries bordering the Mediterranean could see this situation worsen. Desertification and a loss of biodiversity, already underway, and extreme weather events  are set to become more widespread and frequent; hence the need to think ahead and take action. 

Making adapting to climate change a priority in the Mediterranean

The Plan Bleu, working under the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP/UNEP) umbrella, is organizing several key events during the COP22 meeting to promote the initiatives taken by its Mediterranean partners to address climate change. Among these is the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016/2025, adopted as part of the Barcelona Convention, the 40th anniversary of which is being celebrated this year. But also protocols covering issues such as the global management of coastal areas, which came into force in 2011, the first document to be legally-binding for the nine Mediterranean countries and the European Union, who have already ratified it. Among other stipulations, the protocol calls upon the signatory states to maintain green belt areas along the coastal fringe. 

The Plan Bleu is co-organizing and taking part in several gatherings, such as the climate change trophy awards ceremony, hosted by the French environment and energy management agency ADEME, and the conference on the different energy scenarios in the Mediterranean, in partnership with the WEO, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Energy 2050. 

The Mediterranean celebrates Coast Day “Blue economy for a healthy Mediterranean”

For the 10th consecutive year, the Mediterranean celebrated the Coast Day, on 27 September this year in Barcelona under the theme “A blue economy for a healthy Mediterranean”.

The celebration was attended by Mr. Jaume Barnada, Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, City of Barcelona, Ms Marta Subirà, Secretary for Environment and Sustainability, Government of Catalonia, Ms Ana  García  Fletcher,  Associate  Deputy  Director  for  the  Coastal  Protection  DG  for  the Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Special Representative Ambassador Mr. George Saliba, from the UfM Secretariat, as well as representatives of UNEP/MAP, and its regional activity centres.

EUCC Mediterranean Centre attended the event as well continuing its commitment towards healthy Mediterranean sea and coast.

“Blue Economy” is marine-based economic development that leads to improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Emphasis was made throughout the day, on the sustainability of major economic sectors supplied and supported by Mediterranean natural coastal ecosystems that can contribute to separating the economic growth from environmental degradation. Those include amongst others, fisheries, tourism, renewable energy, marine transport, recycling, and waste reduction.

The first part of the day was  dedicated to presentations and debate around the concept of Blue Economy in the Mediterranean as well as discussion on good examples and best practices from leading businesses, NGOs and public agencies from all over the Mediterranean. It also included a dialogue with Spanish skipper Didac Costa this year’s ambassador for the coast, and who will take part to the Vendée Globe sailing race.

Didac Costa, this yeat’s ambassador of the coast, with PAP/RAC director Zelijca Skaricic 

Upon a recommendation by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, the advisory body on sustainable development of the 22 contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention, efforts are being made through a number of initiatives to  support successful cases of entrepreneurship among the Mediterranean countries, making an impact for sustainable living within the region, and contributing to the switch to a sustainable and fair consumption and production pattern. Eco-entrepreneurs such as Lior Turgeman from Livingreen (Israel), a start-up that reinvented urban farming, and Abdelouahed Kaikai from Agir (Morocco), an association that promotes artisanal fisheries, presented during the day their grass-roots initiatives to protect the Mediterranean sea by greening the economy.

The second part of the day was aimed at a wider local audience and citizens. It attracted more than a hundred persons and featured three different corners:

–   Action Corner, with a selection of local and international organizations active in the field of Blue             Economy, such as NGOs, research centres, and businesses,

–   Networking Corner, with different areas to gather participants around the key economy sectors:             mobility, energy, tourism, fisheries, recycling.

–   Creative Corner, with a collaborative workshop where participants were able to draw, build and take             back a personalised art piece.

The Mediterranean Coast Day was launched in 2007 to increase environmental awareness among policy makers, academia, media, NGOs and citizens of the importance of good coast management for achieving sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.

It was co-organised this year by the Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC), Plan Bleu, and the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), and co-sponsored by the MAVA foundation, an environmental philanthropic organization from Switzerland, and count with the participation of eco-union, a Barcelona-based NGO active in the field of green and blue economy.

Coast Day 2016

This year’s Coast Day will be celebrated with a slight delay, on Tuesday, September 27, to avoid the weekend when most of the participants couldn’t attend. It will be co-organised by PAP/RAC and SCP/RAC in Barcelona, at the premises of Sant Pau Art Knowledge Centre.

The celebration will be organised within the project “A blue economy for a healthy Mediterranean” financed by the “MAVA Fondation pour la Nature”, located in Gland, Switzerland which will offer substantial financial support to the event. Given the objective of the project, the topic of this year’s celebration, which is different each year, will be the “Blue Economy” and its importance for reaching economic, social and environmental sustainability in the Mediterranean Region.

The morning part of the celebration will be dedicated to presentations and discussion on good examples and advantages of the Blue Economy, while the afternoon part will be more relaxed and entertaining, aimed at a wider audience. The agenda of the event will be available in due time.


Apart from this central regional celebration, we have announcements of Slovenia planning a Coast Week, and a celebration in Montenegro.

A new report on Marine Litter Assessment in the Mediterranean

Source: UNEP/MAP

thumb_news2UNEP/MAP has launched its new updated Marine Litter Assessment in the Mediterranean on 26 May 2016, within the framework of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), held in Kenya, Nairobi.

Marine litter has been confirmed as a critical issue in the Mediterranean, exacerbated by the basin’s limited hydrologic exchanges with other oceans, as well as pressures from its densely-populated coasts, highly-developed tourism, along with the impacts of 30 percent of the world’s maritime traffic transiting the Mediterranean sea and additional inputs of litter from rivers and heavily urbanized areas.

The report is based on the 2008 assessment of the status of marine litter in the Mediterranean prepared by UNEP/MAP MED POL, and reconfirms a number of its findings.

Compared to the 2008 assessment, this updated report provides data on waste and plastic inputs to the sea for each Mediterranean country and specifies the most important sources of litter, changes in their composition and transport patterns presenting updated results of modelling and provides a comprehensive review of existing data for the four compartments of the marine environment (beaches, surface, seabed, and ingested litter).

It also provides original data and information on micro-plastics, on derelict fishing gear and their impact and details the general reduction measures, especially those that are important for the Mediterranean Sea. The results of monitoring and national and regional studies on marine litter have been also integrated.

To download the report, click here

Marine litter news in the framework of Barcelona Convention

The 19th Contracting Parties meeting of the Barcelona Convention, held last February in Athens, aproved the Decision IG.22/10 on marine litter. Implementing the Marine Litter Regional Plan in the Mediterranean (Fishing for Litter Guidelines, Assessment Report, Baselines Values, and Reduction Targets). a1_Decision IG.22-10 Marine Litter.

Furthermore, the Updated Report on Marine Litter Assessment in the Mediterranean a2_Updated Report on Marine Litter Assessment EN was aproved as well.