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. Regional follow-up and review will be based on national-level analyses and contribute to follow-up and review at the global level. In recognition of the growing importance of the role of oceans in sustainable development, Goal 14 is to Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources, and UN Environment will play a key role in contributing to the implementation of those environment-related indicators in coordination with other actors. As the importance of the regional dimension is increasingly recognized for the implementation of global agendas, the Regional Sea Programmes are considered to be the units of marine ecosystems that can functionally provide services to human beings surrounding these seas. Therefore, there will be close coordination between Mediterranean countries and MAP in support of the implementation and monitoring of relevant SDGs.
UN Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects (Regular Process)
At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002, States agreed, to “establish by 2004 a regular process under the United Nations for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects, both current and foreseeable, building on existing regional assessments” (the “Regular Process”). The first global integrated marine assessment was completed in 2015, with close synergies to the core areas of work of MAP. The second cycle will cover a five-year period, from 2016 to 2020, and the Regionals Seas (including MAP) are part of the working group to ensure that QSR and other assessments will be integrated into the report.
Global Environment Outlook (GEO)
The GEO global assessments provide an integrated analysis (e.g. social, economic, environmental) of major trends that have shaped the environment. These reports provide world leaders with policy options to take immediate action to address environmental issues by turning environmental discussions into practice. Using the integrated environmental assessment methodology, UN Environment has produced five GEO reports (as well as of regional GEOs) and GEO 6 is under finalization for 2017, with MAP as part of the review process. The categories of the GEO report are in line with the IMAP Ecological Objectives and it is expected that the QSR and future assessments will feed into GEO reports.
Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD)
The Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016-2025 was adopted by the Barcelona Convention contracting parties in 2016. It provides an integrative policy framework and a strategic guiding document for all stakeholders and partners to translate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the regional, sub regional and national levels. The Strategy is built around the following vision: A prosperous and peaceful Mediterranean region in which people enjoy a high quality of life and where sustainable development takes place within the carrying capacity of healthy ecosystems. This is achieved through common objectives, strong involvement of all stakeholders, cooperation, solidarity, equity and participatory governance. 34 indicators have been agreed in relation to the following 6 objectives:
- Ensuring sustainable development in marine and coastal areas
- Promoting resource management, food production and food security through sustainable forms of rural development
- Planning and managing sustainable Mediterranean cities
- Addressing climate change as a priority issue for the Mediterranean
- Transition towards a green and blue economy
- Improving governance in support of sustainable Development
Whereas the IMAP indicators assess the state of the Mediterranean, the MSSD assesses the pressures and drivers. There are strong linkages between these which will be integrated in the Mediterranean State of Environment Report to be developed in 2018-2019.
EU Marine Strategic Directive (MSFD)
The development of the 2017 MED QSR compliments a number of regional and global assessments that are recent and ongoing. The EU Marine Strategic Directive (MSFD) aims to achieve Good Environmental Status of the EU's marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. In order to achieve its goal, the Directive establishes European marine regions and sub-regions on the basis of geographical and environmental criteria. The Directive lists four European marine regions – the Baltic Sea, the North-east Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea – located within the geographical boundaries of the existing Regional Sea Conventions. Cooperation between the Member States of one marine region and with neighbouring countries which share the same marine waters, is already taking place through these Regional Sea Conventions. In order to achieve GES by 2020, each Member State is required to develop a strategy for its marine waters (or Marine Strategy). In addition, because the Directive follows an adaptive management approach, the Marine Strategies must be kept up-to-date and reviewed every 6 years. The descriptors and the timeline of implementation of the MSFD are in line with the Ecological Objectives of IMAP, with the exception of the Ecological Objective EO 8 Coastal ecosystems and landscapes, therefore EU members of the Mediterranean will have the same reporting for both processes. The next MSFD Article 12 Technical Assessment for the Mediterranean will be published in 2018, and will utilize as appropriate the QSR 2017 findings. The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service also has published thematic reports in relation to the 11 descriptors of the MSFD.
Other European-wide assessments are undertaken by the European Environment Agency (EEA), including the Second regional indicator-based H2020 assessment (EEA-UNEP/MAP) in 2019 and the State of the Seas report for 2020.