Mediterranean Countries Translate Global Commitments to Regional Action | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD

Mediterranean Countries Translate Global Commitments to Regional Action | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD  IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub

Mediterranean Countries Translate Global Commitments to Regional Action | News | SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD

Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention Commit to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention, which, according to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), “serves as an example of how to translate … global environment and sustainability commitments into regional legal instruments and action,” have agreed to, inter alia, halt the degradation of marine and coastal biodiversity through implementation of the Mediterranean region’s Biodiversity Framework, advance decarbonization, and address plastic pollution.

Commitment to SDGs

As per the Portorož Ministerial Declaration – the main outcome of the meeting – they also committed to make every effort to ensure that by 2030 at least 30% of coastal and marine areas are effectively conserved and managed and to involve youth in environmental decision making.

According to ENB, 730 tonnes of plastic waste are released into the Mediterranean Sea every day, and “the Mediterranean region is warming 20% faster than the global average.” It is against this backdrop that the contracting parties convened in Portorož, Slovenia, concurrently with the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and for the first time since the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The meeting also took place “in a year that marked significant progress towards a new international treaty to address plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.”

Main Issues Discussed

The ENB summary report of the meeting highlights six main issues that constituted the backbone of the meeting’s agenda:

  • Consolidating the evidence base for the pursuit of Good Environmental Status in the Mediterranean;
  • Implementing the post-2020 Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the Mediterranean Region (SAPBIO);
  • Addressing the sources of land-based pollution;
  • Ingraining sustainability into the blue economy;
  • Paving the way for UN Environment Programme / Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) activities during the 2024-2025 biennium; and
  • Enhancing governance, implementation and enforcement, communication, and advocacy.

Organized by UNEP/MAP, the 23rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols convened from 5-8 December 2023. It included a Ministerial Session on 7 December and side events on pollution, climate change, blue economy, and education and youth, among other topics. [ENB Coverage of Barcelona Convention COP 23]


Join us, as fellow seekers of change, on a transformative journey at, where you can become a member and actively contribute to shaping a brighter future.