IUCNlogoThe new shared program of work will lead to a better harmonization of activities, an optimization of resources and deepened impact in the Mediterranean region

Istanbul, 3rd December 2013 – In the framework of the 18 Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of Mediterranean, the Secretariat of the Barcelona Convention/Mediterranean Action Plan and IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, signed today a Program of Cooperation to more efficiently address issues related to the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems and the sustainable use of marine living resources in the Mediterranean region.

This agreement reinforces the path of collaboration between the Barcelona Convention and IUCN, and will enable more harmonized activities, optimize the use of resources and enhance the impacts of the outcomes of each institution's efforts.

The Program of Cooperation will focus on the promotion of ecosystem-based solutions, the identification of new coastal and marine areas of particular importance in the Mediterranean as well as the protection and better management of existing marine protected areas. Furthermore, both institutions agreed to promote activities and studies to better understand and enhance valuation of Mediterranean ecosystems' goods and services and foster the legal and institutional framework for a better governance of natural resources in the region.

Poul Engberg-Pedersen, IUCN Deputy Director General, emphasizes that "the Barcelona Convention/Mediterranean Action Plan is the key regional organization that assist countries towards a more sustainable use of marine and coastal natural resources. IUCN will contribute to this program with the latest science and knowledge, our network of experts and partners and expertise from field projects around the world, and in particular, with the support of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation based in Malaga."

Maria Luisa Silva, Executive Secretary of UNEP/MAP, welcomes the opportunity for a meaningful partnership with IUCN to help facilitate the implementation of the Mediterranean Action Plan and its Strategies within the framework of the Barcelona Convention.

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 is taking place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3 to 6 December 2013. The meeting includes a Ministerial conference on "Environment- friendly cities". Ministers from Mediterranean countries are expected to discuss effective strategies implemented at the regional, national, and local levels, that address pressures on the Mediterranean environment from coastal urban populations.

About IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,200 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation was opened in October 2001 with the core support of the Spanish Ministry of Environment, the regional Government of Junta de Andalucía and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). The Centre's mission is to influence, encourage and assist Mediterranean societies to conserve and use sustainably the natural resources of the region and work with IUCN members and cooperate with all other agencies that share the objectives of the IUCN. www.iucn.org/mediterranean. www.iucn.org ; IUCN on Facebook ; IUCN on Twitter

About Mediterranean Action Plan/ Barcelona Convention .

The MAP was the first-ever plan adopted as a Regional Seas Program under United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) umbrella. The main objectives of the MAP were to assist the Mediterranean countries 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 optimize the choices for allocation of resources. In 1976 these Parties adopted the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution (Barcelona Convention). Seven Protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental conservation complete the MAP legal framework. http://www.unepmap.org

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