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The activities of SPA/RAC are implemented in coordination with all the components of the MAP system and under the supervision of different governance bodies.

  • Ordinary meetings of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols

The Ordinary Meetings of the Contracting Parties are the highest legal authority that governs all activities in the Mediterranean under the provisions of the Barcelona Convention. At their biennial ordinary meetings, the Contracting Parties formulate policy, make decisions on future actions, agree on the budget and allocate funds to each Component of the MAP, and adopt common measures for the protection of the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment.

  • Bureau of the Contracting Parties

The Bureau of the Contracting Parties is elected during every ordinary meeting of the Contracting Parties. Its role is to provide advice and guidance to the Secretariat during the period between the two ordinary meetings of the Contracting Parties.

  • Secretariat of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) - Barcelona Convention

UNEP provides secretariat services to the Contracting Parties through its MAP Coordinating Unit established in Athens in 1982, based on a Host Country Agreement between Greece and UNEP. The Coordinating Unit aims to promote and facilitate the implementation of the Barcelona Convention, its Protocols and Strategies, and the Decisions and Recommendations of the Contracting Parties. It ensures the functioning of the MAP system and facilitates the work of the Contracting Parties in fulfilling their commitments under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

  • MAP Components

SPA/RAC collaborates actively with all MAP Components, including the Mediterranean Pollution Assessment and Control Programme, MED POL in Athens, Greece; Priority Actions Programme RAC (PAP/RAC) in Split, Croatia; Plan Bleu RAC in Marseille, France; Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) in Malta; Information and Communication RAC (INFO/RAC) in Rome, Italy; and the Sustainable Consumption and Production RAC (MedWaves) in Barcelona, Spain; and SPA/RAC, the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre, based in Tunis, Tunisia.

  • The Executive Coordination Panel

The Executive Coordination Panel (ECP) is a management body comprising Directors of MAP Components and Secretariat representatives, and led by the UNEP/MAP Coordinator. The ECP oversees the achievement status of outcomes and outputs of the MAP Programme of Work.

  • SPA/BD Focal Points

A SPA/BD Focal Point is an appropriately empowered person appointed by the governmental/administrative body responsible for the Contracting Party policy on marine and coastal biodiversity and protected areas. The SPA/BD Focal Point liaises with SPA/RAC on numerous aspects related to the implementation of the SPA/BD Protocol.
The Focal Points convene every two years to assess the Centre’s activities, review technical documents to be forwarded to the MAP Focal Points meeting for endorsement and then to the Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention (COP) for adoption. The Focal Points also evaluate proposals for areas to be included in the List of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI List) to be submitted to the COP.

The documents of the Focal Point meetings can be accessed on this page.


Reporting System

In accordance with Article 26 of the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, the Contracting Parties, represented by the MAP and RACs Focal Points, have the obligation to submit reports on measures taken to implement the Convention and its Protocols.

The Secretariat of the Convention has established a reporting system through which these reports can be submitted. Based on these reports, the meeting of Contracting Parties evaluates compliance with the Convention and its Protocols.


  • SAPBIO governance bodies

Two institutional governance bodies, namely the SAPBIO National Correspondents and the SAPBIO Advisory Committee, have been guiding and regularly monitoring the SAPBIO elaboration and implementation phases since 2001. At their 22nd Meeting in December 2021, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention recognized and commended the role played by these bodies, including in the Post-2020 SAPBIO elaboration process, and agreed that they should continue to provide their guiding support to SPA/RAC during the period 2022-2030.

  • Ecosystem Approach Coordination Group

During their COP 17 in Paris in February 2012, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols agreed to establish an EcAp Coordination Group consisting of MAP Focal Points, the Coordinating Unit, the MAP Components and MAP partners. The group is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the ecosystem approach in the Mediterranean and proposing solutions to facilitate its implementation. SPA/RAC contributes to the work of the Ecosystem Approach Coordination Group on biodiversity and fisheries-related issues.

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