On the third day of the 23rd Meeting of Mediterranean countries (COP 23), a dinner meeting for outstanding women, participants of the international conference, was hosted upon invitation by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning. There were 32 invited participants, mostly heads of delegations from 21 Barcelona Convention member parties: the High Representative of the UN, representatives of the European Committee – the Directorate-General for the Environment (DG ENV), and representatives of international organizations.
The special event for outstanding women was hosted by the head of Slovenia’s delegation, Dr Nataša Bratina, General Director of the Spatial Planning and Construction Directorate, who welcomed the participants on behalf of Minister Alenka Bratušek and State Secretary Maša Kociper.
Her speech focused on the importance of women’s involvement in significant topics in the field of environmental protection, nature conservation and spatial planning and commitment to striving for the common good in the Mediterranean region.
She emphasized the importance of sustainability in joint maritime policies, which must be fair and the importance of taking into account and equally including both sexes. It’s crucial to improve the representation of women in maritime sectors and to ensure that women’s actions and the women’s voice don’t create further inequalities around the world, but encourage better cooperation and understanding of the advantages of a female approach.
She pointed out common goals and achievements in the Mediterranean, such as green and blue corridors, achieving the goal of waste-free seas and coasts as soon as possible, encouraging development with the principles of green transition and blue economy, and inspiring young people by example. She encouraged them to be loud and persistent in their efforts to maintain and ensure a healthy environment.
She thanked everyone who participated and contributed to the preparation of the draft programme for the Danube, Black Sea and the Mediterranean, which is expected to be adopted soon (due to the initiative of Slovenia, as the presiding Mediterranean country), particularly: Birgit Vogel from the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), Irina Makarenko from the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution, and Tatjana Hema from the UN environmental programme – the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).
A special guest of the evening was Elisabeth Maruma Mrema, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, who in her address to the participants emphasized the importance of women’s work, as they can achieve exceptional results, both individually and together.
The first dinner meeting of Mediterranean women with expert discussion and socializing was introduced by Turkey at COP 22. By continuing it at COP 23 in Slovenia, the event is becoming a traditional part of the Barcelona Convention.