Action Plan for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Sustainable Development of the Coastal Areas of the Mediterranean (MAP Phase II)
 

Introduction

In 1975, Mediterranean countries and the EEC adopted the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and in 1976 the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (Barcelona Convention).  The main objectives of MAP were to assist the Mediterranean Governments to assess and control marine pollution, to formulate their national environment policies, to improve the ability of governments to identify better options for alternative patterns of development and to make better rational choices for allocation of resources.

Although the initial focus of the MAP was on marine pollution control, experience soon confirmed that socio-economic trends, combined with poor management and planning of development, are the root of most environmental problems, and that meaningful and lasting environmental protection is inseparably linked to social and economic development.  Therefore, the focus of MAP gradually shifted from a sectoral approach to pollution control to integrated coastal zone planning and management as the key tool through which solutions are being sought.

Although it is difficult to assess progress achieved, there is direct and indirect evidence that a large number of concrete actions were taken by many countries in conformity with the requirements and provisions of MAP, thus influencing the environmental policies and practices of the Mediterranean countries.  MAP has been a significant instrument for change and progress concerning environmental matters in the Mediterranean.  Among achievements of particular importance are the creation of awareness concerning the importance of a healthy environment for the present and future of the Mediterranean and its people; a marked change of attitude towards protection of the environment, the policy making level and creating a sense of solidarity and the need to act collectively for the better future of the Mediterranean.

Major shortcomings in the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment and its coastal region are the inappropriate management of the coastal zone due to the lack of adequate coastal zone planning and management; inadequate national legislation and its effective enforcement; weak institutional structures and inadequate human resources allocated for these types of activities; and lack of mobilization of adequate financial resources and clear political commitment to solve the existing problems.

MAP Phase II was designed taking into account the achievements and shortcomings of MAP's first twenty years of existence, as well as the results of recent developments such as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), the Eighth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (Antalya, 1993), and the Conference "Med 21" on Sustainable Development in the Mediterranean (Tunis, 1994).
 
Objectives

The main objectives are:

- to ensure sustainable management of natural marine and land resources and to integrate the environment in social and economic development, and land-use policies;

- to protect the marine environment and coastal zones through prevention of pollution, and by reduction and, as far as possible, elimination of pollutant inputs, whether chronic or accidental;

- to protect nature, and protect and enhance sites and landscapes of ecological or cultural value;

- to strengthen solidarity among Mediterranean coastal States in managing their common heritage and resources for the benefit of present and future generations; and

- to contribute to improvement of the quality of life.

Implementation

The Mediterranean coastal States bear full responsibility for conducting their policies for an improved environment and sustainable development.  In this context, they are responsible for the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols and MAP.

In carrying out their tasks, the Contracting Parties receive the support of the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention entrusted to UNEP and its Coordinating Unit, and, under the Unit's supervision, of MAP's Regional Activity Centres (RACs).

The specific tasks entrusted to the Secretariat and the RACs in order to implement the activities of MAP, as well as the corresponding budgets, are decided upon by the meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention.

The MAP Coordinating Unit establishes and strengthens relations with other regional seas programmes, the secretariats of the international conventions relevant to the region, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and the international financial institutions related to environment and sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

The Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention will regularly involve the UN specialized agencies concerned in the formulation and implementation of the MAP Phase II programme of activities.

The Contracting Parties will involve local, provincial and regional authorities, as appropriate, in the formulation and implementation of the MAP Phase II programme of activities.

The Contracting Parties will also associate in the MAP Phase II activities, non-governmental organizations involved in the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, as well as organizations representing economic activities.
 
In implementing sustainable development, priority will be given to strengthening  institutional capacity and policy coordination at national as well as regional, provincial and local levels, as appropriate.  In this context, particular attention will be given to the implementation of existing legal instruments such as the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, to the introduction of economic instruments for integrated resource management, and to rigorous planning of coastal zones and management of natural resources.
 

I. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

1. INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

Management and conservation of natural resources, and orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations, are vital for the Mediterranean basin. The complex interaction between environmental components (water, forest, soil) and socio-economic sectors (agriculture, industry, energy, tourism, transport) requires integration of environmental policies into development policies.  At regional level, corresponding activities will be developed within the framework of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development to be established and implemented within MAP in collaboration with the relevant international organizations, and with the support of the Secretariat together with relevant RACs, when appropriate.

1.1 Economic activities and the environment

In the Mediterranean basin, with its limited and fragile natural resources, recent socio-economic developments have given rise to major changes that put its heritage in peril.  Population trends, which indicate that a population of 410 million in 1994 may rise to 550 million in 2025, together with modern means of production and consumption are playing a major role in these changes.

Intensification of agriculture is having a major impact on water resources and soil.  Since the 1970s, industrialization has proceeded apace, although heavy and polluting industries show signs of decline.  The technologies in use are often obsolete and generate considerable pollution.  Industry, which consumes vast amounts of natural resources and energy, competes for space with urban development and major transport infrastructures, particularly on the coast.  Tourism, which brings in revenue, by exploiting the attractions of the natural and historical heritage, also competes for the coastline, putting increasing areas of it under concrete.  A hundred million tourists from all parts of the world visit the coastal area of the Mediterranean today, the expected figure for the year 2025 being between 170 and 340 million, while domestic tourism is also expected to undergo major growth.  Great pressure is exerted on water resources, while overcrowding of natural and historic sites and pressure on land use leads to their destruction, thus reducing capital income from tourism, which is essential for a number of countries.

For these economic activities, the major objectives in relation to sustainable development are:
 
1.1.1 Agriculture

Agricultural production is expected to expand in the Mediterranean region, particularly in the countries of the South and East.  Such expansion, for example through the use of irrigation, will have an increasing impact on soil and water quality.  Furthermore, arable land is shrinking under pressure of construction, fertility loss, salination and erosion.

The spread of desertification in its various forms poses a threat to social and agricultural development, both in coastal regions and in the hinterland.

In order to contribute to sustainable development,  activities should, at their appropriate levels, focus on:

- rational methods for making use of soil and water resources by encouraging farming practices suited to the physical and ecological conditions prevailing in the regions concerned;

- increasing agricultural productivity and production by means of environment-friendly techniques;

- development and use of irrigation techniques using less water and appropriate systems of drainage;

- identification and use of appropriate techniques not only in farming but also to improve local genetic resources; and

- controlling the use of chemicals that pollute soil and water and increasing use of natural fertilizers.

1.1.2 Industry

Industrial development exacerbates a number of existing major problems relating to air and water pollution and degradation of quality of life.

In order to respond to national needs and provide access to Mediterranean and international markets so that sustainable development may be achieved, action should be taken:

- to encourage and facilitate the use of appropriate industrial procedures and clean technologies;

- to facilitate the transfer, adaptation and control of technology among Mediterranean countries;

- to consolidate and accelerate the introduction of programmes for the control and reduction of industrial pollution; and

- to strengthen and expand programmes for the reduction and management of industrial waste.
 
1.1.3 Energy

The growth in energy consumption in the Mediterranean, principally through use of fossil fuels, is adding to the pollution and environmental damage existing in the Mediterranean.  There is thus a need to improve management of energy and to introduce policies compatible with sustainable development.

In that context, the objectives to be achieved at Mediterranean, national and  local levels and in cooperation with interested international organizations will be:

- to encourage and facilitate the use of new and renewable sources of energy in domestic, industrial, public and private use, including pilot projects;

- to develop techniques for controlling and saving energy; and

- to ensure that any new power stations to be built on the Mediterranean coast are environmentally friendly and to modernize, as appropriate, existing power plants.

1.1.4 Tourism

Tourism is one of the major factors affecting the environment and development in the Mediterranean basin. It plays an important role in improving economic conditions in many Mediterranean countries but, on the other hand, has a severe
impact on land and marine resources, soil and coastal land, sea, historical and natural sites and landscapes, society and local population.

The main objectives of activities related to tourism, at Mediterranean, national and local levels, will be:

- to assess, monitor and evaluate tourism activities and their impact on environment through, inter alia, appropriate and pertinent indicators;

- to encourage regional and international cooperation that promotes environment friendly tourism compatible with sustainable development;

- to monitor natural, cultural and human tourist resources and undertake regular assessment of environmental impact and carrying capacity; and

- to develop information and training programmes for the actors concerned including raising the awareness of tourists so that they choose tourism that respects the Mediterranean environment.

1.1.5 Transport

Evolution of air and land transport associated with expanding economic activity will exert growing pressure on the coastal zone.  In particular, the number of cars is expected to treble in the next thirty years.  It is essential that special attention be given to this clear trend, which will have a major impact on environmental quality in coastal and urban zones.

 
The main objectives of the programme are:

- to assess and monitor means of transport and their density in coastal zones by using appropriate indicators;

- to identify and encourage use of alternative means of transport less detrimental to the environment; and

- to disseminate information on transport policies and technologies contributing to sustainable development, including those related to public transport.

1.2 Urban management and the environment

The Mediterranean urban population, 40 per cent of which is concentrated on the coast, is expected to double by the year 2025, which will substantially increase settlement of the coast.

The type of urban development resulting from this concentration is a cause of environmental concern for two reasons:

- great pressure is exerted on natural resources, landscapes and natural areas, which are being taken over or destroyed to meet the needs of urban development; and

- the environment created in such built-up areas is unsatisfactory because of the scale of construction and its impact on transport, energy consumption, waste production, loss of space and natural landscapes and increasing demands for infrastructure.

The consequences of these trends are a cause for concern with regard to the sustainability of development:

- deterioration of the urban environment and quality of life have a negative impact on social life and public health; and

- from the economic point of view, built-up areas with a deteriorating environment are likely to become less attractive, particularly to the services sector.

Strategies for sustainable urban management should be formulated by the competent authorities in order to:

- create an institutional framework which will provide for management of built-up areas at the appropriate administrative level;

- encourage the introduction of urban planning taking environmental issues into account through analysis of the urban environment;

- encourage active urban policies directed towards energy saving, non-polluting forms of transport, waste management, sustainable use of water and the creation of town amenities;

- introduce the corresponding financial instruments;

- develop institutional and professional capacities; and
 
- involve all the actors concerned.

At regional level, cooperation activities will be carried out, encouraging coordinated decentralized cooperation in order to:

- elaborate and disseminate appropriate methodologies;

- promote the exchange of experiences and practice;

- ensure the training of the actors concerned; and

- contribute to the mobilization of international financial resources for the formulation and implementation of strategies for the urban environment.

1.3 Sustainable management of natural resources

At regional level, specific activities in this section will be developed and implemented by the relevant international organizations and programmes, where appropriate, with the support of the Secretariat and RACs.

1.3.1 Water resources

Quality and availability of fresh water resources are vital in the Mediterranean not only for human consumption but also for agriculture, industry, tourism and other components of the economy. The interaction of these components should be tackled through integrated plans for water resources management.

The main objectives of this programme are the management and sustainable use of water resources, and are to be achieved through:

- encouragement of the use of tools for management of water demand;

- assessment and monitoring of the qualitative and quantitative status of water resources in each country, inter alia through pertinent indicators;

- preparation in each country of water resources master plans on a basin basis and expansion of existing plans in line with generally accepted principles of sustainable development, making use of an integrated approach, especially in coastal areas and islands;

- preparation or improvement of national legislation directed to the development and implementation of integrated methods for the management and use of water resources; and

- preparation of guidelines, training programmes and means for the exchange of experience on the integrated development, management, use and re-use of water resources.
 
1.3.2 Soil

Soil erosion and desertification are one of the most serious problems affecting the region.  Agriculture and forestry are particularly affected leading to a decline in productivity which, in turn, helps to worsen social problems in the region.

The main objective is land conservation and reclamation.

Activities aim at:

- assessment and monitoring of the situation relating to soil degradation by the use of appropriate and pertinent indicators;

- development of effective policies, strategies and programmes which will include mapping, monitoring and protection measures to prevent and combat soil loss and desertification; and

- implementation, at a national level, of the above measures, as well as relevant decisions taken at various international forums such as FAO, UNEP and IUCN that lay special emphasis on the Convention to Combat Desertification, and more specifically its Mediterranean component.

1.3.3 Living marine resources

As several fish stocks are under heavy pressure, it is essential to take immediate action at several levels, (fishing community, fisheries organization, government) starting by reinforcing those already existing in order to halt present trends towards the degradation of resources and habitats.

The objective is the sustainable management of living marine resources at national and regional levels.

Main activities aim at:

- improving the available information base on the status of living marine resources and encouraging research on the effects of environmental degradation and the impact of fishing activity; such information is necessary for the development of management policies for such resources;

- developing common resource management policies inspired by the precautionary principle;

- establishing through the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM) the legal framework for a cooperative approach to the protection and conservation of living marine resources outside territorial waters;

- ensuring implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing developed by FAO, the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas and the decisions taken within the framework of the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks; and

- promoting environmentally friendly aquaculture.
 
1.3.4 Forest and plant coverage

Degradation of forest and plant coverage is causing increasing concern in the Mediterranean region.  Overuse through grazing and the use of wood for fuel in addition to fires and urbanization, are the main causes of deforestation.  To tackle these problems, a Mediterranean Forest Action Programme was prepared by FAO, with which MAP will liaise and coordinate its activities.  This programme uses an integrated and multidisciplinary approach which is essential to its general conceptual framework as well as to its application within each country.

The activities of this programme aim, in particular, at:

- making a rapid assessment of the state of the forests in each country, and identifying priorities;

- drawing up Forest Directory Plans for each country designed for protection, sustainable management and the multi-purpose use of forests; and

- enhancing cooperation and exchange of information between countries.

1.4 Integrated coastal area management

Management strategies for the Mediterranean coastal regions should ensure that limited and fragile resources are used in a sustainable manner by means of planning and regulations to conserve their ecological value and to promote activities to improve the quality of life of the coastal populations.

Integrated coastal area management requires understanding of the links existing between coastal resources, their use and the mutual impact of development and environment.

The objectives of protection and integrated coastal area management are as follows:

- preservation of the biological diversity of coastal ecosystems;

- coastal planning to resolve the competition between urbanization, industrialization, tourism, transport, agriculture and aquaculture, and the preservation of ecosystems for future generations;

- control of human pressure on and use of coastal resources;

- achievement of environmental and economic objectives at an acceptable cost to society;

- prevention and elimination, as far as possible, of pollution from all urban, industrial, tourist, agricultural and aquaculture sources, solid and liquid waste, and natural and technological hazards;

- participation by the general public and its various associations with a view to stimulating a sense of civic responsibility in the face of these new challenges; and

 
- development of the institutional capacity and human resources necessary to respond to these many interlinked and often conflicting objectives.

Integrated coastal area management should gradually become the standard  approach for tackling the problems affecting Mediterranean coastal areas.  To this end, at national and, where relevant, at sub-national level, relevant legislation should be enacted and institutional capacities created or strengthened.  Appropriate tools, such as remote sensing, geographic information systems, systemic and prospective analysis, environmental impact assessment and economic instruments, should also be developed and implemented.

This legislation should encourage protection of a large percentage of the coastal strip, prevent continued urbanization and industrialization of the coastline, establish rules for identification of natural areas to be protected, and ensure compatible use of the coast.

At regional level, cooperation activities will be organized in order to:

- elaborate jointly the most appropriate planning methodologies;

- provide training, exchange of information and transfer of knowledge; and

- promote and facilitate cooperation with international institutions likely to support coastal area management policies.

1.5 Elements for a Mediterranean strategy

The concerns of sustainable development, highlighted by UNCED and resulting from the complex links between socio-economic development and the environment, must be fully clarified to allow a Mediterranean strategy, as well as national strategies on sustainable development, to be defined.  The effort to integrate sustainable management of natural resources with stable economic development must be made a priority throughout the Mediterranean.  To this end, the main activities at the regional level will be:

- promoting and developing a function for the observation and assessment of the interaction between environment and development in the Mediterranean basin:

- based on existing relevant activities at national and regional level;

- contributing to the provision of technical support for the development of similar national functions when requested by governments;

- receiving, processing and analyzing relevant information on Mediterranean environment and development;

- analyzing developments in the interaction between environment and development in order to assist the decision-making process; and

- elaborating sustainable development indicators applicable to the Mediterranean along the lines developed by UNCED and other international and regional institutions.

 
- exchanging experiences on sustainable economic development; and

- formulating of practical recommendations to facilitate integration of natural resource management and economic development when preparing national development policies.

At the national level, the main activities will be:

- establishment of structures - mainly interministerial - such as Commissions on Sustainable Development, aimed at bringing together all institutions engaged in formulating sustainable development policies;

- formulation of national strategies for sustainable development, including in particular creating the relevant financial instruments; and

- formulation of sectoral policies, incorporating environmental issues, in priority areas such as energy, industry, transport, agriculture and tourism.

1.6 National and local capacity building

The ability of the Mediterranean countries to embark on the path of sustainable development will largely be determined by their capacity to evaluate problems, determine the level of priority of urgent needs, find response strategies and provide the means to carry out such policies.

- At the national institutional level, policies for sustainable development call for an organizational framework that will ensure liaison with all relevant public administrations and agencies within the context of interministerial coordination.

- At the local level, capacities for designing and implementing sustainable development strategies will also be developed.

Capacity building will aim at developing the means available, and improving levels of training, in the following fields:

- science and technology related to the interaction between development and the environment;

- management of public services associated with the environment; and

- management of enterprises whose operation has an impact on the environment.
 

 
2. CONSERVATION OF NATURE, LANDSCAPE AND SITES

The Mediterranean, with its landscapes and its varied and unique natural heritage, with its age-old past made evident by the innumerable historic sites, represents for its inhabitants and for the millions of tourists who visit it every year a common heritage which deserves to be protected and conserved for present and future generations.  However, the negative impacts of uncontrolled urban, industrial and tourist development and the lack of appropriate environmental strategies are now becoming very evident.  The massive occupation of the coastline and the discharge and dumping of large amounts of solid and liquid wastes into the sea, together with the over-exploitation of natural resources, constitute a threat to the preservation of the ecological balance and the survival of species, as well as to the conservation of several sites of great natural and historic value and of the exceptional Mediterranean landscapes.

In the Mediterranean, examples of coastal management which have the protection of nature, the landscape and historic sites as their objective are still very rare or geographically limited.  A shortage of environmentally sound management strategies, under the pressure of rapid socio-economic development, has in fact for too long favoured activities in which the short-term economic advantages were ensured but which had, in the long term, negative effects on the conservation of the Mediterranean coasts.  It is evident that this negative trend could be effectively reversed if its consequences for the Mediterranean environment and its biological diversity were made widely known and if the planning and development strategies of the various subregions of the Mediterranean included the rational management of their natural and cultural heritage.

This component of MAP Phase II takes fully into account the Barcelona Convention and the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean and aims at proposing to the Contracting Parties a programme of activities that will assist them to protect and sustainably manage the natural and cultural Mediterranean heritage, thus contributing to the sustainable development of the region.

The proposed activities have been developed in line with the results of UNCED, in particular Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the action programme MED 21.

The activities will be implemented by the Contracting Parties in coordination with, and with the assistance of, the MAP Secretariat and the competent Regional Activity Centres.  They will be implemented, as appropriate, in cooperation and coordination with the relevant programmes of the United Nations and the Secretariats of the Conventions, the European Union, especially its NATURA 2000 Network, and other international organizations concerned, as well as with NGOs and networks particularly active in specific fields, in order to create an integrated and efficient synergy in the region and avoid duplication of work.

Five types of activities will be carried out within the framework of the implementation of the Protocol:

- collection of data and periodic assessment of the situation;
- legal measures;
- planning and management;
- public awareness and participation; and
- exchange of experience and strengthening of natural capabilities.
 
2.1 Collection of data and periodic assessment of the situation

If the level of knowledge on the extent and status of conservation of the historic and cultural heritage of the Mediterranean region can be considered satisfactory, the same cannot be said with regard to the natural heritage, knowledge of which is still very fragmentary.  It is therefore important to carry out research and studies to fill the existing gaps for the purpose of defining appropriate action.

The main objective of the present programme is therefore the overall assessment of the status and, where possible, the evolution of biological diversity in the Mediterranean so as to protect it better.  It will include:

- at the regional level, the preparation of inventories of natural sites and elements of biological diversity of common Mediterranean interest, and of lists of the threatened and/or endangered species of the region and natural sites; and

- at the national level, the preparation of inventories of species and sites of special natural value as well as of areas with rare or fragile ecosystems that are reserves of biological diversity and are important for threatened and/or endangered species.

Such inventories and lists will be prepared according to common criteria jointly established by the Contracting Parties, will be kept regularly updated and used as the basis for conservation and planning programmes, using as appropriate the best available techniques.

2.2 Legal measures

Legislation on the protection of the natural and cultural heritage is at present insufficient in many Mediterranean countries and it is therefore necessary to adopt modern and adequate legislation in order to support the implementation of conservation policies.

It is also necessary for the Parties take the measures required to ensure that the legal measures adopted are actually implemented.

The following activities will be implemented:

- the institution by Contracting Parties of appropriate legal provisions by adopting instruments to allow for legal protection of sites of special interest because of their natural and/or cultural value.  The methods and inventories developed in the European Union and in international organizations could serve as a basis in this respect.  Special attention will be given in the Mediterranean to the habitats of threatened species, to insular environments and to archaeological remains, including underwater ports, structures and wrecks;

- the granting of legal protection status to the threatened and/or endangered species identified in the above-mentioned lists.  In this regard, the monk seal and the different species of Mediterranean marine turtles and cetaceans deserve special attention;

- the creation of national mechanisms to monitor implementation of the protection measures instituted; and

 
- the establishment of a list of "Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance" (SPAMI) and a list of endangered species.

2.3 Planning and management

In addition to the legal protection of the sites, it is essential for such sites to be the object of a management system which, while ensuring the preservation of their natural and/or cultural values, would promote the social aspects, in particular those related to education, awareness, research and recreation.

In the planning process for the protected areas, the role that they could play in the development of economically depressed areas, for example, through the promotion of environment-friendly tourism and tourism in cultural sites, should also be taken into account.

It will also be necessary to identify the processes and factors which have or are likely to have adverse effects on the conservation of biological diversity and at the same time to carry out monitoring and periodic assessment of the conservation status of the sites and the species possessing a special status.

Forms of active management are equally necessary for the conservation of most species.

The following activities will therefore be implemented:

- the formulation and adoption of national strategies to ensure the conservation of biological diversity and the cultural heritage and their integration in development and planning policies;

- the formulation and adoption, at the regional and national levels, of specific action plans for the conservation and management of sites, habitats, ecosystems and threatened and/or endangered species and also the implementation of the action plans already adopted;

- the effective management of protected sites, in particular through the formulation, adoption and implementation of specific management plans;

- the establishment of land-policy tools allowing lasting protection of the areas to be protected, including those outside protected areas;

- the encouragement of active public participation in the conservation and management of protected species and sites;

- the establishment of a Mediterranean diploma, awarded in the course of Ordinary Meetings of the Contracting Parties, for a "Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance" (SPAMI) distinguished by the implementation of specific and concrete activities in the field of management and conservation of the Mediterranean natural heritage; and

- the preparation of specific regional activities or projects for the conservation of nature and biological diversity with a view to mobilizing the necessary financial resources outside the Mediterranean Trust Fund.
 
2.4 Public awareness and participation

Without public support, the application of nature protection and conservation measures cannot achieve results commensurate with the challenges and threats looming over the natural heritage of the Mediterranean.

By informing and inculcating awareness in particular target groups and in the general public, it has been possible in several countries not only to lessen opposition to certain conservation programmes but even, in some cases, to achieve active public participation.

The main objectives of this component are to consolidate awareness and information at both local and national, as well as regional, levels in addition to ensuring the rapid circulation of scientific research results.  The following activities will be undertaken:

- development of education and information programmes to arouse public awareness, together with initiatives aimed at special target groups (young people, fishermen, people connected with protected areas);

- promotion of speedy dissemination of available data by various means, including the media, concerning the state of habitats and populations and the threats affecting them, especially for protected species, and on the management and conservation activities and programmes conducted; and

- establishment at national and/or local levels, and periodic assessment of information and awareness programmes in line with the conservation measures carried out or envisaged.

2.5 Exchange of experience and strengthening of national capabilities

The protection and management of the natural and cultural heritage need specific competences and adequate financial and technical resources.  In the Mediterranean region, there are at present wide differences in the availability of such competences and technologies.  For the developing countries of the Mediterranean the improvement of national capabilities in these fields represents an important aspect of strengthening inter-Mediterranean cooperation for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage, and for better participation in regional programmes.

The main objective of the present programme is the improvement of the institutional capabilities of the Mediterranean countries in the field of conservation and management of natural resources and of the cultural heritage.

This objective will be reached through:

- technical cooperation and transfer of knowledge among the Contracting Parties and other actors;

- the establishment of networks to improve the exchange of experience among Mediterranean experts, especially in the field of protected areas and sites;
 

 
- the preparation of training programmes in scientific, technical and managerial fields for personnel involved in the formulation and implementation of conservation measures and management; and

- assistance to countries in the formulation of projects eligible to be financed by international financial donors.
 

3. ASSESSMENT, PREVENTION AND ELIMINATION OF MARINE POLLUTION

Since the adoption of the Mediterranean Action Plan in 1975, individual Mediterranean countries and the Mediterranean region as a whole have made considerable progress in the protection of the Mediterranean marine environment against chronic or accidental pollution.  Despite such progress, the coastal region of the Mediterranean is under considerable stress; The solution to the problem requires coordinated actions of assessment, prevention and elimination of pollution, bearing in mind the inseparable character of the relationship between economic development and environment.

In line with the concepts and recommendations of UNCED and in particular Agenda 21, this component of MAP Phase II provides the basis for actions related to assessment, prevention and elimination of marine pollution from land-based and sea-based activities, in the perspective of sustainable development.

The main objective of this component is the elimination of pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from land-based and sea-based activities.

3.1 Assessment of pollution-related problems

Assessment of pollution-related problems allows present uncertainties when facing management decisions to be reduced and the links between inputs, concentrations and effects of pollutants clarified.  Such an assessment started in the Mediterranean several decades ago in MAP, through its MED POL programme.

Through this programme, which has been implemented jointly with relevant United Nations agencies, a Mediterranean network of over 150 institutions participating in research and monitoring of marine pollution has been established; many of these institutions received assistance in capacity-building.

The results of these activities have been used as a basis for the preparation of assessment documents presented to the Contracting Parties, legal instruments and common measures for pollution control. Even though many data were accumulated on the main pollutants, their sources, and basic pathways and their fate in the environment, gaps in knowledge still exist, among them are a lack of quantitative data on pollution sources, inadequate geographical coverage in the South, poor information on the environmental fate of pollutants and missing links between levels and the effects on biological communities.

The objective of this component is assessment of the following:

- levels and trends in the load of pollutants reaching the Mediterranean Sea from land-based and sea-based sources;
 
- levels, trends and effects of pollutants in the marine environment;

- risks of pollutants for marine life, fisheries and human health in coastal waters, estuaries and open waters;

- state of the treatment and disposal of liquid and solid waste in the Mediterranean coastal region;

- pollution prevention and clean production processes and the dissemination of information and expertise to allow all parties to implement such processes; and

- extent to which the Mediterranean marine environment is affected by marine pollution from ships and is at risk from a major marine accident.

The activities to be carried out in order to achieve the stated objectives are:

Regional level

- to collect information on the levels and trends of loads of pollutants reaching the Mediterranean Sea;

- to complete the existing network of national programmes for monitoring of pollution, based on adequate observation and monitoring techniques and incorporating mandatory data quality assurance programmes;

- to collect information on the state of the treatment and disposal of liquid and solid wastes in the Mediterranean coastal region and to present such information to the Contracting Parties;

- to collect information on the effects of pollution, including that coming from ships, on the marine environment;

- to provide the Contracting Parties, interested groups and individuals with information about general and specific pollution-related problems and potential short-term and long-term threats to the Mediterranean region; and

- to collect and provide to other Parties information on pollution prevention, elimination and clean production measures and processes in place.

National level

- to establish/improve national monitoring programmes through assistance for capacity building of national authorities and individual laboratories, training and data quality assurance programmes.

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