Over 40 years ago, the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was established as a framework of cooperation in addressing common challenges of marine environmental degradation, and in 1976 the Barcelona Convention was adopted by the Mediterranean countries. With an initial focus on pollution, which then expanded to further address biodiversity, coastal management and sustainable development, in 1995 the Convention was amended and renamed as the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. In addition to the Barcelona Convention and seven protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental protection and conservation, since 2008 the Ecosystem Approach has been the guiding principle with the ultimate objective of achieving the Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast. An Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) was adopted by the 19th Meeting of Contracting Parties (COP 19) in 2016. The 2017 Quality Status Report is the first report based on the Ecological Objectives and Common Indicators of IMAP, with a view to assess the status of the Mediterranean in achieving GES.
UN Environment/MAP and the Barcelona Convention: Vision, Goals, and Ecological Objectives
With its three dimensions (Institutional: Contracting Parties, UN Environment/MAP Secretariat composed of the UN Environment Coordinating Unit and seven components, and Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development as advisory body; Regulatory: seven Protocols and an extensive body of strategies, action plans and decisions; and Implementation-related: partnerships, programmes, projects and activities for the delivery of the mandate), the MAP system has a unique and prominent role in the Mediterranean region for the protection of the marine environment and its coastal region as a contribution to sustainable development.
Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast
The Ecosystem Approach in the Mediterranean is being implemented in accordance with a seven-step roadmap. It is now fully integrated into the MAP and Barcelona Convention framework and is in line with the EU Marine Strategic Framework Directive and the decisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) regarding the ecosystem approach and the Aichi targets.
Other key global and regional assessment processes
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. While the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals. Countries have the primary responsibility for follow-up and review of the progress made in implementing the Goals, which will require quality, accessible and timely data collection.
Approach and Methodology for the preparation of the Mediterranean 2017 QSR
The 2017 MED QSR follows a model that has been defined in cooperation with the Contracting Parties, based on the structure of the UN Environment/MAP Mid-Term Strategy 2016-2021 and IMAP, through the Ecosystem Approach Correspondence Groups on Monitoring and the Ecosystem Approach Coordination Group. It has also considered the approach taken by other Regional Sea Programmes (i.e. OSPAR), and the work implemented at global level, such as the Regional Process on a Second World Ocean Assessment and the process on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially its oceans related Sustainable Development Goals.