95th meeting of the Bureau of the Barcelona Convention

On April 3 and 4, 2024, the 95th meeting of the Bureau of the Barcelona Convention was held in Ljubljana, which Slovenia hosted as the presiding country.

Among the regular biennial meetings of the States Parties to the Barcelona Convention, the Bureau is the governing body that guides the programme and content of activities and promotes the effective implementation of the Convention’s provisions. The fundamental objective of the Barcelona Convention is to reduce negative pressures and impacts on the coastal and marine environment of the Mediterranean.

In this respect raising awareness and involving young people is of particular importance and the Slovenian Presidency’s priority. That is why the President of the Sava River Basin Youth Parliament, Blaž Lipovšek, at the opening session addressed the Bureau members. In his address, Mr Lipovšek stressed the importance of involving young people in climate change adaptation and the significance of integrating this content into school curricula.

The main task of the meeting was to review the status of the implementation of the convention and to formulate recommendations for its effective implementation in the future. The members of the Bureau were also addressed by the Minister of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, who emphasized the importance of the Barcelona Convention for improving the quality of life of the people living along the shared seas. He emphasized Slovenia’s extreme vulnerability to climate change and welcomed the establishment of the new Regional Climate Change Centre in the Mediterranean. He said that during Slovenia’s presidency of the Barcelona Convention, the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Mediterranean, which is an extremely important development document for future generations, is also being updated. He pointed out that Slovenia understands, in addition to new technologies, that appropriate spatial development that considers green and blue infrastructure is crucial for effective adaptation to climate change. Slovenia is working hard to extend its knowledge and experience in modern spatial planning of river basins, coasts, and seas, considering sustainable blue and green economies, also across borders. He also highlighted the importance of interregional integration “from source to outlet” to reduce pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems, using the example of the Danube, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean.

The Minister and UNEP MAP Chief Coordinator Tatjana Hema agreed that Slovenia will do its utmost to strengthen cooperation between the countries along the Adriatic Sea and will present this with other achievements of the Barcelona Convention in Brussels in the autumn. The presentation will take place in the context of the preparations for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNEP MAP and the UN Ocean Conference 2025 in Nice.