MEPIELAN Centre, represented by its Director, Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos participated in the 19th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) which was virtually hosted by Slovenia through videoconference from 7 to 9 June 2021. 33 out of 40 MCSD Members (18 Members representing Contracting Parties and 15 Members for Stakeholders Groups) and 7 Observers were represented
At the opening, the 19th Meeting of the MCSD expressed gratitude to the outgoing President, Ms. Ivana Stojanovic (Montenegro), and to the other Members of the MCSD Steering Committee, i.e. Ms. Valentina Mauriello, Italy; Mr. Evangelos Raftopoulos (Rapporteur), Mediterranean Programme for International Environmental Law and Negotiation (MEPIELAN); Mr. Mohammed Maktit, Morocco; Ms. Bahar Özöğüt, Turkey; Mr. Jean Baptiste Buffet, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Ms. Alessandra Sensi, Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), acknowledging with appreciation the work done under their guidance in 2020-2021. The Commission, in compliance with its Rules of Procedure, elected its new Steering Committee as follows: President: Mr. Mitja Bricelj, Slovenia; Vice-President: Ms. Samah Saleh, Egypt; Vice-President: Ms. Bahar Özöğüt, Turkey; Vice-President: Mr. Emad Adly, Egyptian Forum on Sustainable Development (ESDF; Vice-President: Mr. Michael Scoullos, Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med); Vice-President: Ambassador Sergio Piazzi, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM); Rapporteur: Ms. Anne-France Didier, France.
The MCSD Meeting discussed the Report by the Coordinator on Sustainable Development Activities for the period June 2019 – May 2021 and Members of the MCSD provided positive comments on the results achieved after the 18th Meeting of the MCSD (Budva, Montenegro, 11-13 June 2019) and reported on their sustainable development activities and own efforts in support to the MSSD implementation and to the work of the MCSD. In its intervention, The Mediterranean Programme for International Environmental Law and Negotiation (MEPIELAN) presented its contribution to the implementation and promotion of the MSSD on four interrelated topics: 1. the launch of two MSSD Flagship Initiatives promoting environmental democracy and innovation, including a Memorandum of Understanding signed with MIO-ECSDE in October 2020; 2. Participation as Rapporteur in the 21st and 22nd Meetings of the MCSD Steering Committee held in May and December 2020, as well as in other UNEP/MAP events; 3. Outreach, information and communication through the MEPIELAN website and e-bulletin; 4. Educational programmes at the Panteion University of Athens, Greece, related to the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention system, with reference to the MSSD and Mediterranean sustainability governance. In its Conclusions, the MCSD Meeting, inter alia, acknowledged the efforts and initiatives of its Members and Observers, with the support of the Secretariat, “as an important contribution to the work of the MCSD towards the delivery of SDGs, the MSSD, and other global and regional processes on environmental affairs and sustainability issues”, and further reaffirmed “the importance of this body as a regional multi-stakeholder platform for experience sharing and peer learning, to contribute substantially to the promotion and achievement of SDGs and to use those best practices at national, subregional, regional levels and beyond”.
Discussing the Implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), the Meeting underlined the importance of the exchanges of experiences on the transposition, implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national level, guided by document prepared by Secretariat “Peer Learning: Structures and Processes for Implementing the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Mediterranean Countries”, and highlighted the need for stronger support of the Simplified Peer Review Mechanism (SIMPEER) on national policies for sustainable development. The Meeting also underscored the advanced status of implementation of 8 MSSD Flagship Initiatives, which included:
- Encourage the adoption and implementation of the Aarhus Convention on Public Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), presented by MIO-ECSDE and MEPIELAN; and,
- Develop capacity building programmes on issues related to implementation and compliance with environmental obligations and agreements – Public Trust Approach, by MEPIELAN.
In regard to the Mediterranean Sustainability Dashboard , MEPIELAN invited Plan Bleu to integrate legal indicators in the dashboard in view of measuring progress towards inclusive, fair, and peaceful societies, and the Meeting agreed that he Secretariat (Plan Bleu) and the MCSD Steering Committee should continue working towards the optimal alignment and consistency of the dashboard with ongoing global processes on SDGs indicators and ensure that all indicators are regularly measured and adequately communicated within the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention system and beyond.
Discussing the Recent and Future Assessment and Foresight Studies, the Meeting endorsed the State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean (SoED) report and the First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR 1) of the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and environmental Change (MedECC), and invited its Members and the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention system to build on existing knowledge to define science-based policy recommendations for sustainable development. It encouraged Contracting Parties to fully consider the SoED key findings as important inputs for the definition of relevant regional and national policies and strategies in the post-COVID era, and to provide adequate and long-term support to MedECC, as a successful regional initiative which replies to their needs in terms of scientific knowledge for informing evidence-based policies, and as a recognized science-policy interface by the UNEP/MAP – Barcelona Convention system.
Following a very interesting Roundtable on the Achievement of the SDGs and Transition towards a Sustainable Blue Economy for a Post-COVID Green Renaissance in the Mediterranean, the panel discussion, after a meaningful discussion, considered that the 19th Meeting of the MCSD was timely to engage in further work on the One Health approach for reconciling socio-economic development and the preservation of natural resources for human health and livelihoods of current and future generations, confirming the urgency for creating synergies between complementary regional initiatives towards a green renaissance and to leave no one behind in the post-COVID era.
Finally, the MCSD Members, with MEPIELAN’S contribution, considered that the overall draft Programme of Work (PoW) 2022-2023 adequately integrates sustainability considerations, highlighting the need for further reflection on integrated implementation of SDGs, interaction and synergies between complementary activities and initiatives, intersectoral and interinstitutional dialogue at governance level, as well as more emphasis on building and bridging with existing works and initiatives, including on education for sustainable development and public trust approach building on environmental democracy.
The 19th Meeting of the MCSD congratulated and thanked its outgoing Members after having completed three consecutive mandates, acknowledging with appreciation their contribution to the work of the Commission, namely: United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); ANIMA Investment Network; the Forum Euroméditerranéen des Instituts de Sciences Economiques (FEMISE – Euro-Mediterranean Forum of Institutes of Economic Sciences); the Mediterranean Programme for International Environmental Law and Negotiation (MEPIELAN); the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Solutions Network (Med-SDSN); the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM); the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM).
The 19th Meeting of the MCSD agreed on the draft Conclusions and Recommendations, which were presented in their final form in the report of meeting, and requested the President of the MCSD and the Secretariat to inform the forthcoming Meeting of UNEP/MAP Focal Points and COP 22 about its conclusions and recommendations.
 MCSD, Report of the 19th Meeting, Videoconference, 7-9 June 2021, UNEP/MED WG.439/9, Conclusions (paras. 9 &10), pp. 1-2.
 Ibid., para.18, p.3.
 Ibid., Conclusions (paras. 32 &33), p.5.
 Ibid., Conclusions (paras. 37&38), p.6.
 Ibid., para. 41 and Conclusion (para. 43), pp. 6-7.
 Ibid., para. 50 and Conclusion (para.52), pp. 7-8.
 Ibid., Conclusions (paras. 73, 75, 77).
 Ibid., Conclusions (paras. 88 & 89).
 Ibid., Conclusions (paras. 94 & 95).
 Ibid., Conclusion (para. 101).
About the author
MEPIELAN Centre is an international research, training and educational centre established by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos at the Panteion University of Athens in 2008.
Before its establishment as a University Centre, MEPIELAN operated as a successful international research, training and informational programme (2002-2007) under the scientific direction of Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos and the aegis of the Panteion University of Athens, supported by the Mediterranean Action Plan/UNEP and the Greek Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works.
MEPIELAN Centre is an accredited UNEP/MAP PARTNER (since 2013), a Member of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) (since 2016), and a Member of the Steering Committee of the MCSD (since 2019).
On 22 May 2022, MEPIELAN Centre proceeded to the development of MEPIELAN as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) for the more effective and efficient advancement of its Goals and Missions and furtherance of its activities. MEPIELAN Centre as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) is registered in Greek Law (Hellenic Business Registry, Reg. No. 16477300100) in accordance with Laws 4072/2012 & 4919/2022 as applicable