Morocco Ratifies the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol

The Kingdom of Morocco has become the second Contracting Party to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols to have ratified the full set of legal instruments adopted in the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan. Morocco has assumed this status following the entry into force of the ICZM Protocol on 21 October 2012.

This development further confirms the continued commitment of the Government of Morocco to improve the status of the Mediterranean sea and coastal environment. Morocco held the Presidency of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention for the 2010–2011 biennium and hosted the Sixteenth Meeting of the Parties in Marrakech in 2009.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is recognised as the way forward for the sustainable development of coastal zones since the 1992 Rio Conference and is characterized by a distinctive integrated approach to providing solutions to the complex environmental, social, economic and institutional problems of coastal zones. The value of ICZM has been further emphasized after the Rio+20 Conference which raises the issue of Oceans’ and Seas’ protection in the global Sustainable Development agenda and calls for action at the regional and national levels.
The Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, the first legally binding instrument of its type in the world, was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Madrid, Spain on 21 January 2008. It entered into force on 24 March 2011. To date, it has been Ratified by Albania, the EU, France, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain and Syria.

The Seventeenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (Paris, 2012) adopted the Action Plan for the implementation of the ICZM Protocol for the Mediterranean (2012–2019) as well as the “Paris Declaration” which further reinforced Contracting Parties resolution to strengthen the integrated management of Mediterranean coastal zones, as a unique instrument at the service of Mediterranean States, providing an integrated vision of coastal areas and the basis for their sustainable development.

The Paris Declaration urges Contracting Parties to ratify the ICZM Protocol and implement the ICZM Action Plan as rapidly as possible. It also calls upon them to recognize the need to improve coherence between the different levels of coastal governance, supplemented by optimal national frameworks for ICZM and to liaise with other relevant regional and global plans and programmes, in particular through the maritime spatial planning, in order to strengthen and optimize the achievement of the overarching goals of the Barcelona Convention.

– The Barcelona Convention is the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean, done at Barcelona on 16 February 1976, and amended on 10 June 1995 to address sustainable development challenges. The Barcelona Convention and its Protocols are the legal basis of the Mediterranean Action Plan, the first Regional Seas Programme developed by the United Nations Environment Programme.

– The Priority Actions Programme / Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) provides technical assistance, guidelines, and methodologies for the practical delivery of ICZM in the Mediterranean. According to the tasks assigned to it in Article 32 of the ICZM Protocol. Click for more information.

Source: Press release issued by UNEP-MAP in Athens, 25 October 2012.