MEPIELAN CENTRE participates in the 18th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) (Budva, Montenegro, 11-13 June 2019) and is elected as a Member of the Steering Committee of the MCSD
MEPIELAN Centre represented by its Director, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos participated in the 18th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) held in Budva, Montenegro, from 11 to 13 June 2019. 28 out of 40 MCSD Members (14 Members representing Contracting Parties and 14 Members for Stakeholders Groups) and 7 Observers were represented. At the opening of the Meeting, the MAP Coordinator, Mr. Gaetano Leone, stated that “the unique mechanism that the MCSD represents in the panorama of Regional Seas allows to look at sustainable development in its entirety” and he encouraged the MCSD Members and Observers to pursue their partnerships for rendering fully compatible socio-economic development and sustainable use of the resources of the Mediterranean Sea and coast.
The Commission, in compliance with its Rules of Procedure elected its new Steering Committee (a President, five Vice-Presidents and a Rapporteur) as follows: President: Montenegro (Ms. Ivana Stojanovic); Vice-President: Italy (pending nomination); Vice-President: Morocco (Mr. Mohammed Maktit); Vice-President: Turkey (pending nomination); Vice-President: UCLG (Local Authorities Group) Mr. Mohamed Boussraoui; Vice-President: UfM (Intergovernmental Organizations Group) Ms. Alessandra Sensi; Rapporteur: MEPIELAN (Scientific Community Group), Mr. Evangelos Raftopoulos.
The MCSD Meeting discussed the Progress Report of the Work done after the 17th Meeting of the MCSD (Simplified Peer Review Mechanism (SIMPEER), Mediterranean Sustainability Dashboard, Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) Flagship Initiatives, the 2019 State of the Environment and Development Report and MED2050 Foresight Study) and the Members provided positive impact. It also discussed the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Sustainable Development Goals and the MSSD, which was organized in two levels. First, by reflecting most recent Global and Regional Processes, where the three UN Regional Commissions that cover the Mediterranean Basin (UN-ECA, UN-ECE, UN-ESCWA) presented the progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda at the regional level, and the MCSD, for the first time, interacted with them, identifying the need for establishing with them an extensive institutional relationship focused on the promotion of the MAP-Barcelona Convention system among their Member States and on the need for concrete action to integrate sustainability considerations at the local level, for increasing transboundary cooperation, as well as for synergies between environmental and socio-economic targets. Second, by implementing SDGs and the MSSD at the National Level, where the Contracting Parties participating in the SIMPEER activity and/or contributing to the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process at the UN High-level Political Forum (HLPF) shared their experiences. It was agreed that the common challenges experienced by the Contracting Parties at this level were, mainly, the need to the enhanced engagement of stakeholders and civil society in the governance of the national implementation of SDGs and the need for capacity building.
The Meeting further discussed the MSSD Good Practices, Exchange of Experiences and Challenges. It focused on the MSSD Flagship Initiatives and welcomed the Concept Notes drafted by COMPSUD, MIO-ECSDE, MEPIELAN and the Secretariat (SCP/RAC) to put in motion four MSSD Flagship Initiatives addressing challenges and gaps indicated by the MSSD and strengthening cooperation opportunities.
- Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, Director of MEPIELAN Centre, introducing his authored Concept Note about developing innovative areas of capacity building on implementation and compliance with environmental obligations and agreements (putting in motion MSSD Flagship Initiative 6.3.5) presented in a PP an analysis of four interrelated Key Areas and the timetable for specific actions required for their implementation. These Key Areas referred to:
Developing a stewardship-related and participatory implementation of the precautionary principle/ approach;
Enhancing policy coherence for sustainable development through interlinkages between global and regional conventional (treaty-based) regimes and the implementation of SDGs;
Building the capacity of all participants to creative negotiation as relational governance for ICI, and the capacity to perform a “talanoa dialogue” approach for discussion and participation at the local, national and regional level
Advancing the public trust approach as a legal and policy platform to address the sustainability aspects of the BCS.
- As he stressed, in their combination, these Key Areas of Capacity Building Actions strengthen the participatory approach, showcase the importance of “governance-by-negotiation”, address the need for the protection of the interests of the vulnerable “voiceless community” (future generations, wildlife, natural resources).
He also introduced the MEPIELAN’S contribution to the Concept Note developed by COMPSUD and MIO-ECSDE about encouraging the accession to and implementation of the Aarhus Convention (putting in motion MSSD Flagship Initiative 6.2.3). He presented in a PP MEPIELAN’s specific contribution on the law and governance dimension of this Flagship Initiative and the specific activities.
The Meeting also discussed the Green, Blue and Circular Economy, including Sustainable Consumption and Production. It stressed the importance of developing and strengthening measures towards the achievement of sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean region, the need for embedding it further into the Barcelona Convention system, with explicit targeted outputs, for strongly engaging the private sector to achieve a real change of the tourism sector towards sustainability, for addressing mass tourism management and planning on the basis of ecosystem-based integrated marine and coastal planning processes (ICZM, MSP). The Meeting also recognized the value of the Mediterranean Sustainability Dashboard, stressed its nature as a living document and the need for its continuing and optimal alignment and consistency with the ongoing global processes on SDGs Indicators, ensuring that all indicators are fully measurable or effectively implementable. It further discussed the Draft Roadmap for the participatory MSSD Mid-Term Evaluation as a good opportunity to enhance the Strategy and make it more efficient.
Discussing the 2019 Report on the State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean (SoED 2019), the MCSD Members underlined the high relevance of the Report, the large body of evidence and knowledge collected and the urgency to provide updated information to decision-makers and stakeholders, and made comments and certain recommendations.
The Director of MEPIELAN recommended to refer in a key message to the principles of resilience and non-regression, new relational legal concepts, such as the “public trust approach”, interlinkages and creative participatory processes for more effective implementation of environmental sustainability and multilateral governance.
In the light of this discussion, the Commission concluded that the reports under preparation should “include on the balance of environmental and socio-economic content and on thematic areas to be addressed, innovative relational legal concepts, participatory processes and environmental law principles implementing sustainability, sources of data in accordance with international best practices, dissemination and use of report and broader and targeted communication of its findings.”
Finally, the MCSD Members expressed their opinions on the integration of sustainability considerations into the draft Programme of Work, underlining “the importance of developing national monitoring and assessment capacity, the need for further harmonization among information platforms at national and regional level, the role of private sector and Parliamentarians, and the urgent need to strengthen the information and communication capacity 0f the MAP – Barcelona Convention system”. Regarding the preparation of the COP 21 Ministerial Declaration, the Commission stressed the need to “focus on mechanisms, actions and tools to achieve sustainable development” and it indicated “the development of adequate institutional set-up, technologies and transferable knowledge, and cultural aspects, including education and awareness raising.”
The MCSD Commission agreed on the final form of the draft Conclusions and Recommendations presented on the last day of the Meeting.