Slovenia will host the 23rd Meeting of the Member Parties to the Barcelona Convention, COP 23 – Conference for the Mediterranean, in Portorož between 5 and 8 December 2023, marking the second time in history that Slovenia has held the two-year Presidency of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The meeting will be held under the slogan “Green transition in the Mediterranean: from decisions to actions”.
The slogan of the Presidency highlights the transition towards the implementation of the decisions taken to achieve sustainable development in the Mediterranean and the Green Transition in practice. As a Member Party, Slovenia is working to promote an ecosystem approach to development planning by strengthening the importance of blue and green corridors in spatial planning and management for maintaining coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. Blue corridors are the aqueous environment where frequent migrations of aquatic organisms are observed. Together with land-related green corridors (preserved natural areas), they provide important provisioning services such as food and water, allow the transport of substances, the migration of aquatic organisms and some human activities in the use of ecosystem services.
The Mediterranean is experiencing a threefold crisis: climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, which negatively affect human health, food production, the economy and development. In the face of increasing maritime traffic, the establishment of new marine protected areas and plans to prevent pollution and manage ballast water and sediment will be given special attention to strengthening both human health and the marine environment.
Slovenia supports the vision of a Blue Mediterranean: a clean and healthy sea, free of plastic waste, with a guarantee of healthy fish stocks, and an innovative environment capable of contributing to a sustainable blue economy.
For development planning, we will present a modern method of promoting blue and green corridors for harmonious management of river basins, coasts and the sea with the aim of improving water, food, energy and climate security. The focus will be on empowering young people to adopt programmes to reduce pressures and shore-based impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems and on measures for adaptation to climate change. In this context, special mention should be made of a new regional programme for agricultural management aimed at reducing the use of pesticides and nutrients, and a new management programme for marine fish farming aimed at reducing pollution, including plastic waste.
The meeting will include the Ministerial Session on Thursday 7 December 2023, which will also be attended by Ms. Alenka Bratušek MA, acting as Minister of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, and will be addressed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Robert Golob.
The Ministerial Meeting will also adopt the so-called Portorož Ministerial Declaration. 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.
Around 300 delegates from 21 Member Parties are expected at the event. Many international organisations, governmental and non-governmental organisations will be actively involved, contributing proposals and making a number of speeches and presentations, including at several side events.
The Barcelona Convention is the world’s first convention on the protection of the regional sea and the only regional multilateral legal framework for the protection of the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment. At the Portorož meeting, Slovenia will take over the two-year presidency of the Convention from Turkey. The main tasks of the Slovenian presidency will be related to marine protected areas, integrated coastal zone management and maritime spatial planning, updates on emergency plans and to increasing resilience to climate change.
The meetings COP 23 for the Mediterranean in Portorož and COP 28 in Dubai are coordinated
We would like to remind you that the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Climate Change, COP 28, will also be held in Dubai during this period, and the programme of the Slovenian meeting, COP 23 for the Mediterranean, is fully aligned with it. The Dubai meeting is global, while the Portorož meeting is regional, Mediterranean-specific. The strategic objectives of both COP 23 for the Mediterranean and COP 28 at the global level are to make progress in joint action to reduce and prevent environmental stresses and pollution, which is already resulting in climate change, biodiversity loss and is already reflected in inequalities, poverty, poorer access to drinking water and food. Both COP 23 for the Mediterranean and COP 28 will place a strong emphasis on youth participation in this respect.