The United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP)–Barcelona Convention Secretariat hosted an online meeting of the Ecosystem Approach Coordination Group (EcAp CG) on 9 September 2021.

The EcAp CG comprises representatives of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union).

Participants in the meeting reviewed progress and recognized efforts in the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach Roadmap in the Mediterranean. The deliberations addressed the need to complement nationally sourced data with input from scientific institutions. The implementation of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme for the Mediterranean Sea and Coast (IMAP), a regionally harmonized environmental data production system adopted by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, remains one of the top priorities of UNEP/MAP.

The meeting agreed on a Data Policy for IMAP. Progress was also made on several technical fronts related to IMAP Common Indicators that the Contracting Parties adopted for harmonized environmental monitoring and assessment of Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Mediterranean Sea and Coast. Updated baseline and threshold values for marine litter—upon which regional and national efforts in the implementation of measures and the assessment of GES will be based— were approved for consideration by the 22nd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (COP 22).

In addition, the participants thrashed out assessment criteria for contaminants, pollution effects and nutrient concentrations. On biodiversity, work has advanced in establishing assessment scales, baseline and threshold values related to marine mammals and sea turtles. Guidance factsheets on non-indigenous species were approved.

There was an agreement on the structure of the forthcoming edition of the Mediterranean Quality Status Report (2023 MED QSR), one of the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system’s flagship knowledge products and a major deliverable for the 2022-2023 biennium. The 2023 MED QSR illustrates the urgent need for the Contracting Parties to provide quality-assured data.

Finally, the participants agreed on a proposal to strengthen the governance mechanism of the Ecosystem Approach Coordination Group for the effective implementation of the Ecosystem Approach.

The Ecosystem Approach pursues the management of human activities and ecosystems in an integrated and sustainable manner. Its relevance is encapsulated in the shared vision that it aims to fulfil: “healthy Mediterranean with marine and coastal ecosystems that are productive and biologically diverse for the benefit of present and future generations”.

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published on 2022/03/03 14:15:50 GMT+0 last modified 2022-03-03T14:15:50+00:00