© J. Ghannem

Institutional set-up

The MAP Coordinating Unit

In line with Article 17 of the Barcelona Convention, UNEP provides secretariat services to the Contracting Parties through its MAP Coordinating Unit, established in Athens in 1982, and led by the UNEP/MAP coordinator, on the basis of a Host Country Agreement between Greece and UNEP. The Hellenic Republic provides financial and logistical support to MAP and accords the Secretariat diplomatic status.

The overall mandate of the Coordinating Unit, as provided for in Decision IG.17/ 5: Governance paper, is to promote and facilitate the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols and Strategies, and of the Decisions and Recommendations of the Contracting Parties. It ensures the good functioning of the MAP system, develops and implements the Programme of Work, and supports the Contracting Parties in meeting their commitments under the Convention. The Coordinating Unit organizes and provides the secretariat services for the meetings of bodies established within the MAP framework. It represents the Secretariat to the Barcelona Convention at the international and regional levels and ensures high-level policy and political dialogue with external parties.

The Coordinating Unit also ensures the functioning of the Reporting System and the Compliance Mechanism of the Barcelona Convention and Protocols, and is entrusted with regularly reporting on the State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean.

In implementing its Programme of Work, the Coordinating Unit receives the technical support and assistance of the MAP Components in accordance with their individual mandates, and with specific decisions of the Contracting Parties.

MAP Components

The Mediterranean Pollution Assessment and Control Programme (MED POL)

MED POL’s main objective is to contribute to the prevention and elimination of land-based pollution of the Mediterranean. MED POL assists the Contracting Parties, through planning and coordination of initiatives and actions, including promoting and catalyzing synergies and investment programmes, to meet their obligations under the Barcelona Convention and the Dumping, LBS and the Hazardous Wastes Protocols. MED POL also facilitates the implementation of National Action Plans to address land-based pollution and LBS-related legally binding programmes and action plans, continuously assess the status and trends of pollution of the Mediterranean and achieve GES related to ecological objectives on marine pollution, including litter and noise.

Main fields of action:

  • assessing the status and trends in the quality of the marine and coastal environment including health-related aspects of marine pollution;
  • promoting policy reforms for the implementation of national action plans, including programmes and measures, for the reduction and gradual elimination of pollution, the mitigation of the impacts of pollution and the restoration of systems damaged by pollution;
  • catalyzing and facilitating the realization by the countries of the pollution reduction actions listed in their National Action Plans by bridging between countries and international and regional donors and financial institutions;
  • regularly assessing loads of pollution reaching the Mediterranean, and determining trends in coastal areas including pollution hot spots;
  • collecting, analyzing and disseminating data and information on pressures and state of the marine and coastal environment;
  • capacity building and technical assistance to support the Contracting Parties in the above areas.

The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC)

REMPEC is administered by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in cooperation with UNEP.

REMPEC’s main objective is to contribute to preventing and reducing pollution from ships and combating pollution in case of emergency. REMPEC assists the Contracting Parties in meeting their obligations under the Barcelona Convention and the Prevention and Emergency Protocol as well as in implementing the Regional Strategy for Prevention of and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships, whose key objectives and targets are reflected in the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD).

The Centre also assists the Contracting Parties which so request in mobilizing the regional and international assistance in case of an emergency under the Offshore Protocol. REMPEC is based in Valetta, Malta

For more information visit the REMPEC website.

The Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre (PB/RAC)

The Plan Bleu/RAC’s main objective is to contribute to raising awareness of Mediterranean stakeholders and decision makers concerning environment and sustainable development issues in the region, by providing future scenarios to assist in decision-making.

In this respect and through its dual functions as an observatory of the environment and sustainable development and a centre for systemic and prospective analysis, PB/RAC provides the Contracting Parties with assessments of the state of the environment and development of the Mediterranean and a solid basis of environmental and sustainable development data, statistics, and indicators to support their action and decision making process.

PB/RAC’s activities are consistent with the priority fields of action of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) and facilitate its implementation and follow-up. Plan Bleu is based in Sophia Antipolis, France

For more information visit the Plan Bleu website

The Priority Actions Programme Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC)

The specific objective of PAP/RAC is to contribute to sustainable development of coastal zones and sustainable use of their natural resources. PAP/RAC provides assistance to Mediterranean countries in the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, in meeting their obligations under the ICZM Protocol and in implementing the MSSD.

PAP/RAC is based in Split, Croatia

For more information visit the PAP/RAC website

The Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (SPA/RAC)

The specific objective of SPA/RAC is to contribute to the protection and preservation and sustainable management of marine and coastal areas of particular natural and cultural value and threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna.

SPA/RAC provides assistance to the Contracting Parties in meeting their obligations under the Barcelona Convention, and under the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol; and implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biological Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Region (SAP BIO) as well as the MSSD.

SPA/RAC is based in Tunis, Tunisia.

For more information visit their SPA/RAC website

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC)

The objective of SCP/RAC is to contribute to pollution prevention and sustainable and efficient management of services, products and resources based on the Sustainable Consumption and Production integrated approach adopted by UNEP.

SCP/RAC provides assistance to the Contracting Parties in implementing the Barcelona Convention, the LBS Protocol, the Hazardous Waste Protocol, and the Offshore Protocol, in which sustainable production and consumption plays a crucial role, as well as the other Protocols in which the shift to sustainable consumption and production is key to attain their objectives. SCP/RAC also provides assistance to the Contracting Parties in promoting and using relevant mechanisms.

SCP/RAC is based in Barcelona, Spain

For more information visit SCP/RAC website

The Regional Activity Centre for Information and Communication (INFO/RAC)

The objective of INFO/RAC is to contribute to collecting and sharing information, raising public awareness and participation and enhancing decision-making processes at the regional, national and local levels. In this context, the mission of INFO/RAC is to provide adequate information and communication services and infrastructure technologies to the Contracting Parties to implement the Barcelona Convention’s Article 12 on public participation and Article 26 on reporting, as well as several articles related to reporting requirements under the different Protocols, thus strengthening MAP information management and communication capabilities. With a view to ensuring availability of coherent and scientifically sound environmental knowledge, INFO/RAC strives for close cooperation with other key environment institutions and international bodies working on environmental data and information management, to progressively move towards a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS).

INFO/RAC is based in Rome, Italy

For more information visit the Info/RAC website