Media advisory

Slovenia hosts COP 23 of the Barcelona Convention, the “COP for the Mediterranean”

  • WHAT: The 23rd Meeting (COP 23) of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols.
  • WHEN: 5-8 December 2023
  • WHERE: Portoroz, Slovenia. The meeting will take place at the Grand Hotel Bernardin, Obala 2, 6320 Portorož. (Telephone: +386 5 695 1000)
  • WHO: High-level Officials and accredited representatives of the Contracting Parties (21 coastal Mediterranean countries and the European Union) and Observers will participate in COP 23, together with representatives of accredited MAP Partners and Intergovernmental Organizations.

1. Media accreditation procedure

Media accreditation is mandatory. It is strictly reserved for members of the press: print, photo, radio, television, film, news agencies, and online media who represent a bona fide media organization.
Please submit your request no later than 30 November 2023 through this link:

2. Sessions open to accredited media representatives

5 December10:00-11:00Opening of COP 23

Speakers by order of appearance:

– H.E. Fatma Varank, Deputy Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change of Türkiye, and President of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona – Convention
– H.E. Maša Kociper, State Secretary in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Slovenia
– Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, UNEP Deputy Executive Director
– Ms. Tatjana Hema, UNEP/MAP Coordinator
7 December10:00- 13:00Opening of the ministerial session of COP 23

– H.E. Robert Golob, Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia
– Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, UNEP Deputy Executive Director
– H.E. Mag Alenka Bratušek, Acting Minister of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, Slovenia

Panel discussion on “Green transition in the Mediterranean: from decisions to actions”:

– Ms. Birgit Vogel, Executive Secretary, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River
– Mr Almotaz Abadi, Deputy Secretary-General, Union for the Mediterranean
– Mr Jean-Charles Orsucci, Mayor of Bonifacio (France)
– Mr Michael Scoullos, Chairperson, MIO-ECSDE
– Ms. Lucka Kajfez Bogataj, eminent scientist, one of Slovenia’s pioneers in researching the impact of climate change and a member of the IPCC for more than 16 years
– Mr Ahmed Yassin, young leader / co-founder of Banlastic Egypt
16:30-17:00Ceremony: Istanbul Environment Friendly City Award

The mayor of the winning Mediterranean city will be announced and will receive the Award. For more information on the Award:

An embargoed press release will be sent to accredited media representatives.
8 December09:00-10:00One-on-one interviews with the UNEP/MAP Coordinator (upon request and subject to availability)

The schedule of side-events (open to accredited media representatives) and other accessible areas of the conference, including the exhibition area, will be published on the COP 23 web page and Host Country website on 18 November 2023. For information on side-events, contact

3. Why cover COP 23 in Portoroz?

As the foremost intergovernmental gathering dedicated to the marine and coastal environment, the meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention serve as “COPs for the Mediterranean”, allowing for the articulation of regionally coordinated approaches to the global environment and development agenda. “Green transition in the Mediterranean: from decisions to actions” is the theme of the Ministerial Session of COP 23 of the Barcelona Convention.

Coinciding with COP 28 of UNFCCC (UN Climate Change Conference) in Dubai, COP 23 in Portoroz will address the decarbonization of Mediterranean economies and the imperative of bolstering climate change adaptation. Parties taking part in COP 28 and COP 23 will have an opportunity to contemplate the global conversation on the climate crisis through the lens of regionally adequate and locally relevant responses and solutions, especially in the coastal context.

COP 23, which will culminate in the adoption of the Portoroz Ministerial declaration, is expected to deliver four key outcomes: 

✓ Accelerating the implementation of the Mediterranean countries’ commitments to biodiversity protection and conservation

COP 23 will consider decisions on adding new endangered species to Annex II, and species whose exploitation is regulated to Annex III to the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity (SPA/BD) Protocol to the Barcelona Convention. The aim is also to strengthen the network of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMIs). This is related to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). SAP BIO, or the “Strategic Action Programme for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable management of natural resources in the Mediterranean”, is the blueprint that the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention have adopted to achieve common goals on biodiversity, including the GBF targets. 

Grounding policymaking in a robust science-based platform

COP 23 will examine decisions pertaining to the 2023 Mediterranean Quality Status Report (2023 MED QSR) — a major deliverable of UNEP/MAP’s work.  This report provides comprehensive and, to the extent possible, quantifiable assessments based on nationally sourced data covering all “Ecological Objectives” adopted by the Contracting Parties as part of the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) and the Ecosystem Approach.

Ensuring that environmental policies in the Mediterranean region are grounded in evidence is one of the priorities of the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention system. This is reflected in the support that the system provides to MedECC, a network of scientists, which produced the Special Report on Climate and Environmental Coastal Risks. 

Curbing pollution and ingraining sustainability in the blue economy

The COP 23 agenda will include three new Regional Plans on agriculture, aquaculture and urban stormwater management. These regional plans come with measures that, if implemented, will support the Contracting Parties in meeting their obligations under the Land-Based Sources (LBS) Protocol to the Barcelona Convention.

COP 23 will also examine a decision on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), which ensures that a thriving blue economy in the Mediterranean does not come at the expense of marine and coastal ecosystems.

Paving the way for the 2024-2025 biennium, the halfway point in the implementation of the UNEP/MAP Medium-Term Strategy (2022-2027)

COP 23 will examine an ambitious proposal on the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work and Budget for 2024-2025. The aim is to strengthen the UNEP/MAP means of implementation and to match the high level of ambition expressed by the Contracting Parties in their successive ministerial declarations.

COP 23 is also expected to mandate important updates to the Ecosystem Approach, the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP), the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development and the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas.

4. Websites and social media

The official hashtag is #COP23Med

5. Media contacts

For interview requests with UNEP/MAP officials, contact Mr Jihed Ghannem, UNEP/MAP Public Information Officer:

For media enquiries addressed at the Host Country, contact Mr Gregor Kosi, Official at the Minister’s Office, Ministry for Natural Resources and Spatial Planning of Slovenia:


About UNEP/MAP and the Barcelona Convention

The system formed by the Mediterranean Action Plan of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP/MAP) and the Barcelona Convention constitutes the comprehensive institutional, legal and implementation framework that the Contracting Parties (21 coastal countries and the European Union) have adopted for concerted action to fulfil the vision of a healthy Mediterranean Sea and coast that underpin sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.

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