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MEPIELAN Centre as an Accredited MAP Partner: Contributing to Mediterranean Challenges and Perspectives

By Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, Founding Director of MEPIELAN Centre

The 18th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols, held in Istanbul (Turkey), 3-6 December 2013, decided to accredit MEPIELAN Centre as new MAP Partner and include it in the Revised List MAP Partners containing 31 NGOs (Decision IG.21/21, Annex III, UNEP(DEP)/MD IG.21/9, p. 231).

According to the procedure, the application of MEPIELAN Centre to become a MAP Partner was endorsed first by the Meeting of the MAP Focal Points (Athens, 10-12 September 2013) and, subsequently, by the 18th Meeting of the Contracting Parties as complying with the necessary criteria for accreditation. These criteria together with the Code of Conduct, adopted by the 16th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties, held in Marrakesh (Morocco), 3-5 November 2009 (Decision IG. 19/6 MAP/Civil Society Cooperation and Partnership, Annexes I & II, UNEP(DEPI)/MED IG.19/2 pp. 61-66) mark a major step in the development of a more effective, efficient, transparent and better informed environmental governance in the framework of the Barcelona Convention System an MAP.

This is an exciting development which makes MEPIELAN Centre privileged and committed to be actively involved in constructive dialogue and consultations with MAP components and the Mediterranean States Parties to the Barcelona Convention System and in addressing key issues of its work and its implementation.

Participating as Observer, MEPIELAN Centre is entitled to have access to all documents relevant to the Meetings and Conferences of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention system, and to contribute to the decision-making process by:
  • formulating critical comments and making proposals on the activities of MAP and the Contracting Parties
  • making suggestions on topics within its sphere of competence concerning the implementation of Barcelona Convention System and MAPs objectives
  • making written presentations on topics related to the objectives of the Barcelona Convention system during Meetings and Conferences which take the form of a document and may be published by the Secretariat on the MAP website or on the MAP Technical Reports Series
  • circulating written statements during Meetings and Conferences
  • having its views expressed in Meetings and Conferences reflected in their reports
  • having the right to access environmental information without it having to state an interest
  • being associated in the various phases of preparation and follow up of MAPs programmes and actions within the scope of its competence
  • appointing its representative at the periodic meetings of accredited MAP Partners, especially prior to the Meetings of the Contracting Parties
  • concluding agreements with the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention and MAP bodies within the sphere of its law and policy competence, in order to contribute to the execution of tasks within the framework of MAP Programme
Within the framework of its new status, MEPIELAN Centre, as a University Centre, is entitled to participate in seminars, colloquia and conferences organized by the various MAP bodies on issues of law and policy. Within its sphere of academic competence, MEPIELAN Centre will strive to develop education and training activities in the Mediterranean countries in connection with the Barcelona Convention system, MAP objectives and activities and the modalities for their continuous advancement in their broader context of international governance. For this purpose, it will be able to organize special training schools designed for public authorities of the Mediterranean countries, Mediterranean civil society organizations and the scientific community or for students of Mediterranean and European Universities. It will also be prepared to provide special postgraduate courses on International Environmental Governance and the Barcelona Convention System, on specific issues of current importance for the protection of the environment and sustainable development of the Mediterranean region (pollution, biodiversity, marine genetic resources, energy, sea development, coastal zone management, climate change and disasters, science-policy interface etc.) and, indeed, on creative international environmental negotiation in the Mediterranean context, which will be addressed to students of Mediterranean and European Universities.

In the field of research, MEPIELAN Centre as MAP Partner will be able to provide studies and reports the MAP Secretariat and the various MAP bodies on special issues of the Barcelona Convention system, its implementation and its development with a view to promote its purpose in terms of building and advancing international common interest in context (internal and external). These may generally include:
  • Horizontal inter-regime governance issues (development of synergies between MAP and the Barcelona Convention system and relevant global and regional conventional environmental regimes)
  • Vertical regime law and governance issues (environmental governance at the regional and local level in the Mediterranean, parameters and indicators of national implementation and non-regression in the national orders of the Barcelona Convention system)
  • Synergies/complementarity between the Barcelona Convention system and the EU Legislation
  • Introducing creative negotiation at all levels of environmental governance in the Mediterranean and shedding light on the complexity of science-policy interface in the negotiating process
  • Public Participation in vertical and horizontal governance aspects of the Barcelona Convention system
  • Advancement of law and policy issues related to the development and implementation of the Barcelona Convention and its seven Protocols
As MAP Partner and within the sphere of its competence, MEPIELAN Centre will further establish a MEPIELAN-MAP Information & Cooperation Office (MICO) for the purpose of:
  • promoting the dissemination of knowledge and information of the Barcelona Convention system and MAP current themes to a multilevel community (student community, research and scientific community, civil society at large) by using its available material and electronic means
  • informing the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention, MAP Regional Activity Centres (RACs) and relevant MAP Programmes on MEPIELAN Centres activities and contributions to achieving the objectives of MAP
  • organizing conferences, colloques and workshops related to the Barcelona Convention system and MAP current themes, their implementation, problems and achievements
  • building partnerships with other stakeholders, especially other NGOs and public authorities as well as the private sector and develop relationships and joint actions of other Mediterranean university institutions and centres and relevant NGOs
It is to be hoped that MEPIELAN Centre will be able to perform its role as a new MAP Partner in an effective and efficient manner counting on the invaluable and unfailing support of MAP Secretariat and MAP bodies and by developing creative cooperative relationships with the EU, relevant international organizations and MEAs Secretariats, Mediterranean NGOs as well as with Mediterranean, European and American academic institutions working in related fields.

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