RECOMMENDATION 1015 (1985)[1]

on protection of the Mediterranean environment

The Assembly,

1. Having taken note of the Final Declaration of the Conference of the Regions of the Mediterranean basin, held in Marseilles (France) from 27 to 29 March 1985, at its own initiative and that of the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe ;

2. Welcoming the holding of this conference which enabled Mediterranean regions to examine the environmental problems raised by economic development and tourism ;

3. Considering that the presence at the conference of more than three hundred local, regional and governmental representatives from sixteen Mediterranean countries, including eight non-member states of the Council of Europe, demonstrates that a common Mediterranean sense of identity exists among the different peoples established around the Mediterranean basin, despite all their differences ;

4. Noting that it is easier for states to reach a consensus and for politicians and experts to establish common ground for agreement where environmental protection is concerned, owing to the essentially technical nature of such problems and their solutions ;

5. Recognising that, in order to protect the Mediterranean environment, greater and more steadfast determination is necessary to implement the technical or legal instruments already existing at international level ;

6. Pointing out that the pooling of information at all levels would seem to be an essential prerequisite to remedying this situation ;

7. Considering that the processes of political or administrative regionalisation now taking place in the different Mediterranean countries enable the relevant authorities to organise environmental conservation programmes more efficiently and make the best use of the human and material resources available ;

8. Noting with satisfaction the conclusions of the 4th meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (Barcelona Convention), held in Genoa (Italy) from 9 to 13 September 1985 ;

9. Believing that the Council of Europe, with its wealth of experience in matters of interregional cooperation, should promote and encourage regular exchanges between officials from Mediterranean countries in order to devise a Mediterranean policy capable of preserving the natural environment, while allowing for rational development and a better quality of life for the populations concerned ;

10. Declaring its willingness to collaborate with the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe in cultivating regular links with the representatives of regional and local Mediterranean authorities, not only with a view to preparing a new conference, but also in order to evolve effective interregional co-operation ;

11. Instructing its Committee on Regional Planning and Local Authorities to liaise with the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe in organising a future conference, devoted partly to assessing progress in interregional co-operation in the Mediterranean basin with regard to the environment and partly to subjects which, while related to the foregoing, would enable co-operation to be expanded,

12. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :

a. define, within the general context of the North-South dialogue, a common Mediterranean policy which should be concentrated initially on questions concerning interregional co-operation in matters of environmental protection ;

b. include activities in the intergovernmental work programme which are designed :

i. to improve awareness among regional and local officials of Mediterranean environmental problems, and provide better training to deal with them ;

ii. to organise regular exchanges between leaders from the two shores of the Mediterranean on specific problems relating to the protection of the environment ;

iii. to develop a sense of responsibility among citizens with regard to the Mediterranean environment, beginning with school education ;

c. invite the governments of member states :

i. to make efforts to draw the attention of regional and local authorities to international agreements concerning the protection of the Mediterranean ;

ii. to associate the latter more closely in the execution of measures arising out of such agreements ;

iii. to encourage each regional and local administration to set up a department directly responsible for interregional or intermunicipal cooperation on measures to protect the Mediterranean ;

iv. to encourage the setting-up of a Mediterranean interregional co-operation centre devoted to the training of experts specialised in environmental protection ;

d. instruct the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to bring this recommendation to the knowledge of governments of Mediterranean coastal states which are not members of the Council of Europe.

[1]. Assembly debate on 25 September 1985 (9th Sitting) (see Doc. 5463, report of the Committee on Regional Planning and Local Authorities).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 September 1985 (9th Sitting).