Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean


Preamble - General obligations

The Contracting Parties,
Conscious of the economic, social, health and cultural value of the marine environment of the Mediterranean Sea area,

Fully aware of their responsibility to preserve this common heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations,

Recognizing the threat posed by pollution to the marine environment, its ecological equilibrium, resources and legitimate uses,

Mindful of the special hydrographic and ecological characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea area and its particular vulnerability to pollution,

Noting that existing international conventions on the subject do not cover, in spite of the progress achieved, all aspects and sources of marine pollution and do not entirely meet the special requirements of the Mediterranean Sea area,

Realizing fully the need for close co-operation among the States and international organizations concerned in a co-ordinated and comprehensive regional approach for the protection and enhancement of the marine environment in the Mediterranean Sea area,

Fully awarer that the Mediterranean Action Plan, since its adoption in 1975 and  through its evolution, has contributed to the process of sustainable development in the Mediterranean region and has represented a substantive and dynamic tool for the immplementation of the activities related to the Convention and its Protocols by the Contracting Parties...

Article 4 General obligations
1. The Contracting Parties shall individually or jointly take all appropriate measures in accordance with the provisions of this Convention and those Protocols in force to which they are party to prevent, abate, combat and to the fullest possible extent eliminate pollution of the Mediterranean Sea Area and to protect and enhance the marine environment in that Area so as to contribute towards its sustainable development.

2. The Contracting Parties pledge themselves to take appropriate measures to implement the Mediterranean Action Plan and, further, to pursue the protection of the marine environment and the natural resources of the Mediterranean Sea Area as an integral part of the development process, meeting the needs of present and future generations in an equitable manner. For the purpose of implementing the objectives of sustainable development the Contracting Parties shall take fully into account the recommendations of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable development established within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan.

3. In order to protect the environment and contribute to the sustainable development of the Mediterranean Sea Area, the Contracting Parties shall:

(a) apply, in accordance with their capabilities, the precautionary principle, by virtue of which where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation;

(b) apply the polluter pays principle, by virtue of which the costs of pollution prevention, control and reduction measures are to be borne by the polluter, with due regard to the public interest;

(c) undertake environmental impact assessment for proposed activities that are likely to cause a significant adverse impact on the marine environment and are subject to an authorisation by competent national authorities;

(d) promote cooperation between and among States in environmental impact assessment procedures related to activities under their jurisdiction or control which are likely to have a significant adverse effect on the marine environment of other States or areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, on the basis of notification, exchange of information and consultation;

(e) commit themselves 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.

4. In implementing the Convention and the related Protocols, the Contracting Parties shall:

(a) adopt programmes and measures which contain, where appropriate, time limits for their completion;

(b) utilise the best available techniques and the best environmental practices and promote the application of, access to and transfer of environmentally sound technology, including clean production technologies, taking into account the social, economic and technological conditions.

5. The Contracting Parties shall cooperate in the formulation and adoption of Protocols, prescribing agreed measures, procedures and standards for the implementation of this Convention.

6. The Contracting Parties further pledge themselves to promote, within the international bodies considered to be competent by the Contracting Parties, measures concerning the implementation of programmes of sustainable development, the protection conservation and rehabilitation of the environment and of the natural resources in the Mediterranean Sea Area."

The full text of the Convention can be foun in the UNEP/MAP site.