21st Assembly of the Contracting Events for the Barcelona Conference for the Safety of the Marine Surroundings and the Coastal Area of the Mediterranean

21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties for the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean

H.E. Mr. Sergio Costa, Minister of Surroundings, Land and Sea of Italy
Excellencies, Girls and Gents.
It’s a pleasure to talk to you all at present, and to open this vital assembly – right here on this spectacular setting, amongst so many revered colleagues, and on this historic metropolis on the Mediterranean coast.
I’d like to start by expressing my honest gratitude to the Authorities of Italy for the management and help they’ve so persistently demonstrated, not solely on marine and coastal points – our focus right here – however on the well being of our planet as a complete. Certainly, this Convention of the Events comes proper on the heels of a really profitable Assembly of the Events of the Ozone Conference, which passed off in Rome simply final month. Italy’s wholehearted dedication to our world setting is agency and unwavering, and will function an inspiration to us all. 
As we collect right here at present, we’re within the midst of an accelerating world local weather emergency which is having profound impacts on our marine ecosystems.  
Our scientists situation common warnings about these modifications. We all know from the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC’s) current report on the world’s oceans and cryosphere that sea ranges at the moment are rising at greater than double the tempo we noticed within the 20th century, and that we might see an increase of greater than a meter by 2100 if we don’t take pressing motion. We additionally know that, for the reason that 1980s, the world’s oceans have absorbed as much as 30 per cent of all of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions, and their acid ranges have surged because of this, destroying delicate marine life. 
And right here within the Mediterranean – as in the entire world’s areas – we see laborious proof of the unfolding disaster. Regardless of a long time of efforts, the Mediterranean stays one of many world’s most polluted ocean basins. One current examine concluded that about 62 million particular person items of marine litter are in all probability floating round, proper now, within the waters of the Mediterranean. All of that rubbish is not only ugly, in fact – it additionally places actual and fast pressures on the area’s wildlife and vegetation, individuals and their livelihoods.
Girls and gents, the science is undisputed and on daily basis, someplace on this earth, we’re feeling the influence of the acute climate occasions which can be a results of local weather inertia. I’ve simply arrived from East Africa which is reeling from unprecedented floods. And as world leaders kick-off the COP 25 Local weather assembly in Madrid, the urgency of cooperation and motion has by no means been extra vital.
And it’s this precept, women and gents, that has guided the UN Surroundings Programme’s (UNEP) work right here within the area since 1975, simply three years after UNEP’s founding. It was in 1975 that 16 international locations and the European Neighborhood adopted the Mediterranean Motion Plan, the first-ever Regional Seas Programme beneath UNEP’s umbrella. Over the previous 4 a long time – right here within the Mediterranean, and later in regional seas across the globe – we now have taken on an enormous array of urgent challenges: from marine litter and plastic air pollution, to the preservation of pure and cultural heritage, to the safeguarding of the livelihoods of those that rely on the ocean and its assets. These regional constructions have achieved a lot, and they’re now proving vital to our efforts to realize Sustainable Improvement Purpose (SDG) 14, a greater life beneath water, within the areas and across the globe.
For forceful proof of the energy of this Conference, we now have solely to take a look at its remarkably stable funding scenario: so far, almost 93 per cent of this 12 months’s assessed contributions of Contracting Events to the Mediterranean Belief Fund have already been obtained. This monetary dedication demonstrates that Contracting Events consider on this instrument, what it has achieved, and what achievements are nonetheless to return.
And so right here we’re at COP21. This assembly is about taking inventory of the place we’re at present with the Conference, assessing what we now have achieved, what classes we now have realized, after which setting our course for the long run. And certainly, this work has already begun: the Mediterranean Motion Plan’s proposed new programme of labor and finances and the forward-looking Naples Ministerial Declaration – will information the work of the Mediterranean Motion Plan and the Barcelona Conference over the subsequent two years and past.
COP21 comes on the finish of a biennium of amplified influence and recognition of the UNEP/Mediterranean Motion Plan and Barcelona Conference system, in addition to an elevated interplay with different United Nations our bodies and places of work. We noticed sturdy interplay with companions and funders, together with the International Surroundings Facility, the European Fee and the Authorities of Italy. Only one highly effective instance of the tasks made doable by these collaborations is the International Surroundings Facility’s Mediterranean Sea Programme, which is working to reinforce environmental safety within the area.
This COP additionally comes on the shut of a landmark 12 months for marine conservation. Already in 2019, we now have seen the launch of the Particular Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere, the Secretary-Basic’s historic Local weather Motion Summit, in addition to the United Nations Framework Conference on Local weather Change (UNFCCC’s) first “Blue COP,” which started simply this week in Madrid.
It’s your job right here to hold ahead this momentum, after which to unfold the phrase on the world stage – at different COPs, in addition to on the UN Ocean Convention subsequent 12 months – concerning the immense significance and large potential of working collaboratively within the areas. As a result of progress right here within the areas can function a robust driving drive in the direction of reaching the Sustainable Improvement Targets for the world as a complete.
On the identical time, I name upon you – the events which have believed on this initiative for almost half a century – to scale up your help. You are able to do this by committing new assets, strengthening nationwide plans, guaranteeing common ratification of pending protocols, and delivering the commitments that you’ve got made within the context of world and regional frameworks. And eventually, our actions are solely nearly as good because the science, and now maybe greater than ever earlier than in historical past, we have to put money into the science and information that may assist us asses our progress and replace the Barcelona Conference course of.
The following biennium of the Medium-Time period Technique provides us an opportunity to boost our ambition, to set daring new objectives, and to show our wholehearted help for the Mediterranean Motion Plan and what it’s in a position to obtain.
To show the significance of our seas because the lifelines of thousands and thousands.
To show the significance of regional motion for our planet’s shared assets.
And to show that right now of local weather emergency, WE CAN collectively overcome our frequent challenges, defending each individuals and planet, and guaranteeing the prosperity of future generations.
Deputy Govt Director, Joyce Msuya

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