MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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Euro Mediterranean Partnership
5th Meeting of SMAP Correspondents
Brussel 1-2 APRIL 2003
Thursday 6 March 2003, by Web Team

The Short and Medium-term Priority Environmental Action Programme (SMAP) was adopted by the first Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment (Helsinki, 1997). SMAP is a framework programme of action for the protection of the Mediterranean environment, within the context of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. SMAP is the common basis for environmental purposes (as regards both policy orientation and funding) in the Mediterranean region, at regional and national levels.

The Partners have selected by consensus the following five priority fields of action for the SMAP: Integrated Water Management, Integrated Waste Management, Hot Spots (covering both polluted areas and threatened biodiversity elements), Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Combating Desertification.

The SMAP also provides for a follow-up mechanism, including:
• a Network of SMAP Correspondents, to meet annuall
• a reporting system;
• consultation practices, also involving the civil society, for the implementation of the SMAP and its eventual modifications.

The Network of SMAP Correspondents formed by the SMAP Correspondents nominated by the Euro-Med Ministers of Environment is co-ordinated by the European Commission (Directorate General for the Environment, in close co-operation with the Directorate General for External Relations and EuropeAid).

The 1st Meeting of SMAP Correspondents

The first SMAP Correspondents meeting took place in Brussels in November 1998. Representatives of the NGOs Steering Committee were invited and attended as observers. The meeting was, among other things, informed about the status of the regional SMAP ’98 proposals.

The 2nd Meeting of SMAP Correspondents

This took place in Brussels in June 2000. Members of environmental NGOs ("Steering Committee") as well as representatives of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and other European Commission DGs were also invited as observers, to promote policy coherence and broader participation.

There was a general consensus on the need for a sustainable approach within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership in general, as well as on the need to ensure environmental integration in all development sectors and to reflect this also in the NIPs, the Association Agreements and the preparation of the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA).

The 3rd Meeting of SMAP Correspondents

The third meeting took place in Brussels on 25-26 June 2001. Over 60 people including representatives of several Commission services attended the meeting. Members of environmental NGOs (the "Steering Committee"), representatives of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and the Mediterranean Environment Technical Assistance Programme (METAP) were invited and attended as observers.

All Correspondents described the major activities of their countries aimed at implementing the SMAP over the previous year. There was a general acceptance of the Terms of Reference for the SMAP Correspondents Network. The procedures for the selection of regional projects were explained. The Greek representative presented the objectives for the 2nd Euro-Med Ministerial Conference on the Environment, which Greece had offered to host in July 2002. After being updated on on-going activities in different contexts related to the EMFTA and the environment, the meeting expressed its satisfaction over the Commission’s intention to launch a Sustainability Impact Assessment of the EMFTA.

The 4rth Meeting of SMAP Correspondents

This took place in Brussels on 23-25 April 2002. Over 80 people attended the meeting. Members of environmental NGOs (the "Steering Committee"), representatives of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and the Mediterranean Environment Technical Assistance Programme (METAP), the Ramsar Convention programme for the Mediterranean Wetlands (MEDWET) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) were invited and attended as observers.

This meeting acted to a great extent as a preparatory meeting of experts for the Athens Ministerial Conference on Environment (July 2002). Thus, beyond the usual update on related national and regional activities, the meeting:
1. Finalised the "Report on 5 years of Implementation of SMAP", which was published and submitted to the Euro-Mediterranean Environment Ministers who endorsed it
2. Welcomed the related "Country Profiles of the 12 Mediterranean Partners" prepared by the Commission. These have been placed on the SMAP website, with the understanding that countries are responsible for giving the Commission the material needed to update them
3. Had an intensive round of largely consensual negotiation on the Draft Ministerial Declaration prepared by the Commission.

THE PROPOSED ACTIVITY

5th Meeting of SMAP Correspondents

It is foreseen that the 5th SMAP Correspondents meeting will take place in Brussels on 1-2 April 2003. The main objectives of this meeting will be to exchange information on SMAP progress and promote the follow-up of the decisions taken by the 2nd Euro-Med Ministerial Conference on the Environment (Athens, 10/7/2002).

- The agenda will include:

1. Update on regional/national SMAP activities;
2. Update on the preparations of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Energy and its environmental dimension;
3. Promotion of Environmental Integration in the sectoral policies of the Euro- Med Partnership;
4. Update on the Mediterranean Strategy on Sustainable Development (under preparation in the MCSD context);
5. Possible forms of synergies among EMP/MAP etc;
6. SMAP planning for the next year(s).

About 60 participants are expected to participate in the meeting. Tickets, hotel and per diem will be provided - as usual - by the EC/MEDA (through a travel agency) for 26 people: two from each one of the 12 non-EU Partners and two from NGOs (coming from non-EU countries) representing the Steering Committee.


-  Contact Point
Dr Athena Mourmouris
European Commission / Environment DG. E. 3
(Beaulieu 9, 5/194)
Rue de la Loi 200
1049 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 296 39 51
Fax: +32 2 296 34 40
email : Athena.Mourmouris@cec.eu.int







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