The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) entered into force 12 February 1978. It can be regarded as a corner stone for the promotion of environmental protection and integration in the Mediterranean. The European Community and all the EU Mediterranean Member States are contracting parties to the Convention.
Article 4.3(e) of the Barcelona Convention, requests the Contracting Parties to promote the integrated management of the coastal zones, taking into account the protection of areas of ecological and landscape interest and the rational use of natural resources. In 2008 a Protocol was developed to provide a common framework for the Contracting Parties to promote and implement integrated coastal zone management.
On 13 September 2010, the Council adopted the decision to ratify the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management to the Barcelona Convention (Council Decision 2010/631/EU). This EU conclusion decision follows the signature of the Protocol adopted by the Council on 4 December 2008 (2009/89/EC). The text of the ICZM Protocol was published in that decision.
In his statement welcoming the Council decision, European Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said that the adoption of the Council's decision will mean that problems of coastal degradation in the Mediterranean can now be tackled more effectively. He stressed that the EU ratification decision "sends a strong signal of commitment from the EU to the protection and sustainable management of the Mediterranean coast."
Having been ratified by six contracting parties, the Protocol entered into force the 24th of March 2011. The ratification, or conclusion, of the Protocol means that the Protocol now becomes part of EU law and has binding effects.
More about the process leading up to the Protocol, and Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, can be found on the website of the coastal centre of the Barcelona Convention/Mediterranean Action Plan, the PAP/RAC, in Split, Croatia.
To support ICZM and the Protocol's implementation, the EU co-funds a research project PEGASO. 23 partners collaborate in the project, from EU and non-EU countries around the Mediterranean, as well as from the Black Sea. The project runs from 2/2010 to 1/2014 and has a total budget of 8,9 million € (EU contribution 6.9 million €).