Turkey, the Host Country of the 22nd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (COP 22, 7-10 December 2021), hosted a preparatory meeting on 28-30 September 2021 in the Mediterranean city of Antalya.
COP 22 will mark 45 years of seamless environmental multilateralism and regional solidarity under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols amid calls to build back greener. “Taking place two months after the IUCN World Conservation Congress and shortly after the much anticipated COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 22 will serve as the ‘COP for the Mediterranean’,” Tatjana Hema, the Coordinator of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP), observed.
The Deputy Minister of Environment and Urbanization of Turkey, Professor Mehmet Emin Birpinar, stated that “COP 22 will be a special meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, given the importance of the decisions that will be examined, and which have the potential to mark a turning point for the region, especially after COVID”.
The Contracting Parties (21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union) are expected to review for adoption an ambitious UNEP/MAP Medium-term Strategy for 2022-2027 and the post-2020 Strategic Action Programme for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (SAPBIO), an integrated blueprint for biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean region that is aligned with the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
COP 22 will also pore over a set of pollution prevention regional measures and plans, which are based on the latest data on the state of the marine and coastal environment. Regional measures to bolster circular approaches in Mediterranean economies will also be examined.
The sustainable blue economy will also be high on the agenda as the Contracting Parties consider a potentially ground-breaking decision on the designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides emissions from ships pursuant to MARPOL Annex VI.
, The Host Country unveiled the COP 22 logo and hashtag [#COP22Med] in a ceremony held during the preparatory meeting.
The COP 22 logo features a pictogram representing Caretta caretta, the loggerhead turtle that is an icon of biological diversity in the Mediterranean—a regional sea that represents barely 1 per cent of the global ocean but is home to 10 per cent of known marine species.
Mediterranean loggerhead turtles are affected by marine litter and warming air and seawater. Their plight encapsulates the stark threats that the triple crisis of pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss pose in the region. Caretta caretta is also a powerful symbol of hope: available data shows a positive trend of nest counts for the species. Population abundance is estimated to be 1,197,087 – 2,364,843 individuals. This emblematic loggerhead turtle can be found throughout the basin, but nesting is concentrated in the Eastern Mediterranean, including in sites located in Antalya, the host city of COP 22.
“I thank the Host Country for this beautifully inspiring logo that is so meaningful for the region and for their commitment to the work that the United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) is delivering,” Ms. Hemasaid.