The key forum for the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Mediterranean is the Barcelona Convention; this Convention and its Protocols provide the legal basis for the multilateral cooperation aiming at protecting the environment and fostering sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin through the work of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), the MED POL Programme (the marine pollution assessment and control component of MAP) and the Regional Activity Centres, each of which deals with a specific issue.
The Barcelona Convention's main objectives are: to assess and control marine pollution; to ensure sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources; to integrate the environment in social and economic development; to protect the marine environment and coastal zones through prevention and reduction of pollution, and as far as possible, elimination of pollution, whether land or sea-based; to protect the natural and cultural heritage; to strengthen solidarity among Mediterranean coastal States; and to contribute to improvement of the quality of life.
The Convention has seven Protocols addressing specific aspects of Mediterranean environmental conservation:
The EU is a Contracting Party to the Barcelona Convention, represented by the European Commission. The Commission participates actively in the elaboration and implementation of the MAP Work Programme, ensuring, inter alia, its consistence and complementarity with other EU Mediterranean-related policies and financing possibilities, in particular European Neighbourhood Policy, H2020, the EU RTD framework programmes and the Development Cooperation Instrument.