The Contracting Parties (COP) of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) for the Barcelona Convention, which is part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), came together for their biennial Meeting on December 3rd – 6th 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Mediterranean Action Plan enables the Mediterranean coastal states to work together on pollution, coastal management and biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) is a partner of the UNEP/MAP and joined the meeting as an observer in order to contribute with their scientific knowledge.

Due to human activities many species are under the threat of extinction now. Marine Protected Areas (MAPs) are recognized as an effective tool to fight this. Unfortunately up to now only 2% of the Mediterranean Sea is protected.

To emphasize the importance of Marine Protected Areas, TUDAV produced a video pointing out why “we need more MPAs”. The video showed the rich diversity of the Mediterranean Sea and how it is threatened. Many national and international experts were making their statements. The video was shown as a side event on the second day of the meeting.

Being aware of this it was stated in the Draft Istanbul declaration that “the Ministers and Heads of Delegations of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention commit to develop a comprehensive, coherent network of well-managed coastal and marine protected areas in the Mediterranean by 2020 and thus extend to 10% the Mediterranean network of marine and coastal protected areas including deep seas whether within or beyond national jurisdiction”.

Further “International organizations, bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations and the private sector” are encouraged to “support the activities of the trust fund for Mediterranean marine protected areas”.

Other important issues of the Meeting were
– the Ecosystem Approach (EcAp) to human activities,
– the assessment of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in collaboration with
the the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
– the implementation of the Marine Litter Regional Plan,
– to enforce the the amendments concerning Special Protected Areas and Biological Biodiversity in the Mediterranean in cooperation with all relevant actors, in particular GFCM and IUCN,
– the prevention of pollution from Offshore and Shipping based activities,
– the implementation of the Action Plan on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) regarding especially the development of plans that protect coastal populations against the adverse affects of climate change
– and the shift towards Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP),
– to encourage further cooperation and synergies with the Horizon 2020 initiative,
– the establishment of the “Environment Friendly City” award until the next meeting,
– to welcome the established cooperations and to ask the Secretariat to extend cooperation with the Convention on Biological Biodiversity (CBD), the ACCOBAMS and other relevant Organizations.