ICEF-The Protection and Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean-Black Sea Ecosystem

B.I.O. Joins the International Court of the Environment Foundation to discuss:

“The Protection and Sustainable Development
of the Mediterranean-Black Sea Ecosystem”

Venice, Scuola Grande di S. Giovanni Evangelista,

May 24–26, 2007

On Thursday, the 24th of May, B.I.O will be joining the International Court of the Environment Foundation (ICEF) to discuss the future of the Mediterranean–Black Sea Ecosystem and the role of bio-culture in fostering positive developments in the field of regional and global cooperation and collaboration. Focusing on the inter-dependency and mutual interests of Mediterranean–Black Sea nations, the conference will bring together officials, scholars, NGOs and other stakeholders from the Mediterranean–Black Sea Basin to discuss the state of affairs of the region as well as solutions to common legal and information interchange issues.

B.I.O. has supported ICEF’s calls for the establishment of an International Court of the Environment since 1997, and welcomes the invitation to work in partnership with other progressive individuals and organisations. A major B.I.O. international conference on the importance of the creation of an International Court of the Environment was held in Athens, in January 2001, and culminated in the Athens Resolutions to this end.

The Venice Statement

In 2004, experts met for the first time in Venice to address the interrelationship between the Mediterranean and Black Sea ecosystems and discuss incorporating research and exploration of pressing issues into a holistic structure for sustainable development and environmental protection efforts. In particular, the group outlined several key issue areas, among them:

  • Separation of institutional frameworks and lack of a comprehensive set of rules to globally address the two ecosystems of the Black and Mediterranean Seas
  • Lack of cooperation and coordination between regional and international level stakeholders
  • Need for capacity building throughout the regions
  • Need for support and awareness among civil society in order to encourage public participation in decision making and public access to information
  • The high costs of “non-action”
  • The statement concludes with requesting the establishment of a steering committee “…in order to promote and organise a full international conference on the protection of the Mediterranean and Black Sea ecosystem…”

The 2007 Venice Meeting

This year, ICEF will be hosting the latest in their series of exchanges to evaluate the possibilities and progress of regional cooperation again in Venice, Italy. The objectives of the meeting are:

  • To consider the Mediterranean and the Black Sea as a holistic ecosystem
  • To move past protection and into truly sustainable action
  • To encourage contribution of parties normally charged with local legal enforcement and control to verify actual practices and obstacles
  • To involve representatives of various Courts of various States with relation to the region to verify the contribution of ordinary and administrative courts, as well as participation of representatives of administrative authorities for the verification of administrative practices
  • To involve members of the academic, scientific, and cultural world
  • To involve NGOs as an expression of civil society
  • To advance co-operation between institutions at various levels in relation to the Mediterranean – Black Sea with the intention of halting environmental deterioration whilst encouraging stable programmes for compatible development on an economic level

The international, multi-level/sector conference shall focus on four main areas of discussion:

  • Pollution

– Land-based pollution
– Air and Sea craft dumping
– Trans-border movement of waste
– Marine pollution caused by maritime accidents
– Pollution caused by exploiting the Continental Shelf and sub-soil

  • Nature

– National legal systems regarding marine protected areas
– Criminal and administrative penalties for infringement of prohibitions
– Specific protected areas
– Legal aspects of areas outside territorial waters
– Status of marine mammals in the Ligurian Sea
– Conservation of cetaceans of the Mediterranean–Black Seas and the contiguous Atlantic area

  • Culture

– Protection of maritime areas because of scientific, aesthetic, historical, archeological, cultural and/or educational value
– Administration and control of regulations and enforcement
– Legal mechanisms for enforcement and codification

  • Economy

– Analysis of pilot programmes and other activities intended to incorporate Mediterranean – Black Sea protection with various industry sectors
– European Union funded programmes
– Programmes targeted specifically at North African and Middle Eastern States
– Sustainable fishing and relative legislation/ legal instruments
– Training programmes aimed at all sectors as pertains the protection and sustainability of the Mediterranean – Black Seas
– Economic initiatives to combat desertification in Africa and Southern Europe
– Water resource management
– Case law and administrative practices in relation to economic activities
– National Strategic Environmental Assessment plans
– Environmental Impact Assessment of coasts and sea
– Administrative jurisprudence