October 2024: Sustainable Governance Training School

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October 2024: Sustainable Governance Training School

MEPIELAN provides its insights in the Regional Stakeholders Consultation Meeting to contribute to the preparation of the Ministerial Declaration of COP 21 (Athens, Greece, 24-25 October 2019)

MEPIELAN Centre represented by its Director, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos and the MEPIELAN Research Fellow Dr. Socrates Zachos, participated in a Regional Stakeholders Consultation Meeting to contribute to the preparation of the Ministerial Declaration of the 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 21). The Meeting, the first of its kind, was organized and convened by the UNEP/MAP Barcelona Convention Secretariat and was held on 24-25 October 2019 in Athens. It was attended by of more than 20 representatives of several civil society and intergovernmental organizations working in the Mediterranean region.

UNEP/MAP Secretariat presented the main elements of the COP 21 Ministerial Declaration (Naples Declaration) and the milestones of the ongoing participatory process, which included an online consultation involving members of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD). Then, a roundtable discussion was held, coordinated by the Secretariat, where the five possible thematic priorities of the Ministerial Declaration were discussed which included marine litter, marine protected areas and biodiversity, climate change, blue economy and a guidance section mainly covering the engagement of stakeholders and international organizations. Representatives of UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centres, UNEP/MAP Partners and other stakeholders provided their insights, suggestions and proposals on the thematic priorities of COP 21 and on the more effective implementation and governance of the Barcelona Convention system.

MEPIELAN – STAKEHOLDER MEETING (taken from the official MAP site)
The Director of MEPIELAN, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos, emphasized the need for transition from the abstractly formulated “active participation” of the public to the actual “public engagement” of an informed society. As he explained, this can be effected in two levels. First, at the level of effective engagement in environmental governance, by building the capacity of all participants to creative negotiation and by implanting an organized participatory dialogue at all levels complementing such negotiation. Second, at the level of improving effectiveness in implementation and compliance with treaty environmental regimes, like the Barcelona Convention system (BCS), by introducing and applying innovative legal concepts applying a trusteeship approach, like the public trust approach.

In the light of these observations, he suggested that the following recommendations should be included in the “Thematic Priority Session: Guidance”:

  • Build the capacity to “governance by negotiation and dialogue” by developing, through education and training, an innovative approach to creative negotiation as a structured process of governance generating international common interest at all levels and stages of development and implementation of the BCS. Also, by introducing a dialogue platform for a narrative approach to specific issues (a talanoa-type dialogue), thus encouraging informed participation of relevant stakeholders at all levels (local, national, international).
  • Develop the public trust approach as an innovative legal and policy platform to address the gap of implementing the sustainability aspects of the BCS, legally fleshing out the sustainability aspect of the obligations of the governments considered to have, as a unit, a fiduciary (i.e. involving trust) legal obligation to the public to protect the environment and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations in an equitable manner, thus mobilizing. the engagement of stakeholders and promoting a high standard of conduct from public servants.

The Regional Stakeholders Meeting adopted “Conclusions and Recommendations” for the preparation of the Ministerial Declaration of COP21 which were also relevant for the preparation of the Medium-term Strategy 2022-2027.