January 9, 2023
22nd COP Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Honorable Guests,
We greatly appreciate the opportunity to address the 22nd Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention.
MEDASSET has been active in the study and conservation of sea turtles and their habitats throughout the Mediterranean for more than 30 years. The organisation has evolved as an environmental NGO to respond to a wide range of the threats that sea turtles and the Mediterranean Sea face. It works with local communities, civil society, NGOs, researchers, policy makers, the tourism and fisheries sectors, and other industries.
- Its work focuses on: Sea turtles and associated coastal habitats and marine life, protected areas, coastal and offshore development, fisheries interaction, tourism impact, marine litter and pollution, climate change and maritime traffic impact.
- While maintaining a clear focus on sea turtle conservation, MEDASSET has been promoting the conservation of marine biodiversity and the natural environment as a whole.
- The organisation is a partner to the UN Environment Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and a Permanent Observer-Member to the Bern Convention, Council of Europe, and hence plays an active role in lobbying relevant high level policy makers. Moreover, MEDASSET coordinates several projects and campaigns through scientific research, environmental education and awareness-raising activities for which funding has been secured through a competitive proposal writing process to international / national foundations or EU funding schemes, thus helping the organisation to gradually increase its impact in the world of marine turtle conservation and capacity building.
- In recent years, MEDASSET has been active in implementing a number of targeted projects and campaigns, the actions of which fall into one or more of the UNEP-MAP’s priority areas, namely: Marine litter, Marine Protected Areas and Biodiversity, Climate Change and the Blue Economy, in collaboration with a wide range of partners.
- Also, MEDASSET continuously monitors and contributes to the formulation of Greek, European and Mediterranean policies for improved protection of the marine and coastal environment. We annually monitor the conservation status of important sea turtle habitats in the Mediterranean, including: Kyparissia Bay and the Zakynthos National Marine Park in Greece, the Akamas Peninsula and Limni in Cyprus, Anamur, Patara, Fethiye and Kazanli in Turkey. We are also following the construction of a new coal plant in Hunutlu, with great concern, as it will cause further deterioration of the environment and negatively impact the sea turtles in Turkey’s Adana district. Our efforts have led the Bern Convention to adopt decisions and urge governments to improve protection of nesting beaches in Greece and Turkey. Another success of our lobbying work resulted in the adoption of new legislation that gave Kyparissia Bay the status of a Protected Area and reopened the Case File on Zakynthos’ Lagana Beach.
- Given MEDASSET’s holistic approach to major environmental issues and considering that climate change places sea turtles under great threat, we support campaigns by other international NGOs through lobbying and awareness-raising activities (environmental education, Bern Convention, policy at national level).
- In the context of the agenda of COP22 we feel that more needs to be done at a higher pace. There is no more room for delays. The pandemic of COVID-19 is a warning that unless we change now, there is a great price to pay. MEDASSET reaffirms our commitment and readiness to work with you for a better future for our planet in general and beloved sea turtles and the Mediterranean region in particular.