Slovenia in active preparation for presidency of the Barcelona Convention

Only one more month separates us from the 23rd Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention COP (COP 23). The meeting of Mediterranean countries, hosted by Slovenia, is set to place in Portorož in the week of 5-8 December 2023 – and, for the second time in history, Slovenia will assume the two-year presidency of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, better known as the Barcelona Convention. This specific Convention is the only international legal framework for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea and its coast and the first convention on the protection of regional seas in the world. In 2025, it will celebrate its 50 years of existence.

Although Slovenia’s coastline occupies only one-thousandth of the Mediterranean coastline, the active implementation of the Barcelona Convention is of vital importance for us too. Through its implementation, countries considerably contribute to maintaining the health of coastal and marine ecosystems. Slovenia will be assuming the presidency as a responsible coastal and maritime state that has a high reputation in the Mediterranean and Europe, as an exemplary connection for the implementation of Adriatic-Ionian, Danube and Alpine macro-regional strategies. The Republic of Slovenia is the only country in all three macro-regions.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, in close cooperation with the Barcelona Convention Secretariat, intensive preparations for the implementation of the meeting and acquisition of presidency for the period of 2024-2025, which Slovenia will take from Turkey. In December, in Portorož, we’ll be hosting approx. 300 delegates from 21 member states, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations and representatives of the United Nations Organization.

The December meeting, with high-level international participation (including the ministerial level) and numerous accompanying events, will be an important foreign-policy opportunity for Slovenia in the field of environmental multilateralism, right before the onset of temporary membership in the United Nations Security Council.

Under the slogan “Green transition in the Mediterranean: from decisions to actions” (Slovenian: Za zeleno Sredozemlje: od odločitev k dejanjem), Slovenia wants to contribute to the implementation of the European Sustainable Blue Economy, implementation of the principle “from source to the sea” and the search for regional and macro-regional synergies.

on 7 December 2023, a ministerial meeting will also be held as part of the event,at which the Portorož ministerial declaration will be adopted. Negotiations on the contents of the declaration between the member parties are already underway, and with its adoption, the countries will advocate measures for a faster green transition and investment into a water-, climate-, food- and energy-friendly future.

The main tasks of Slovenia’s Presidency will involve managing areas of land, coast and sea, including contemporary measures for prevention and response in the event of pollution and other ecological disasters. Special attention will be paid to measures for reducing the negative effects of climate change and improving biodiversity.

Slovenia’s COP23 logo, designed in shades of blue and green, emphasizes the importance of blue and green corridors in contemporary spatial planning, as Slovenia places special emphasis on this. The logo is comprised of elements that symbolize the sea, rivers and forests, depicting a combination of the silhouette of a fish and Posidonia Oceanica seagrass (a flowering ‘super plant’, named after Poseidon), which points out the importance of protecting biodiversity in a time of increasing impacts of climate change.