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Protocol Concerning Mediterranean Specially Protected Areas

Done at Geneva 3 April 1982

The Contracting Parties to the present Protocol,

BEING Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the
Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, adopted at Barcelona on 16
February 1976,

CONSCIOUS of the danger threatening the environment of the
Mediterranean Sea Area as a whole, in view of the increasing
human activities in the region,

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the special hydrographic and ecological
characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea Area,

STRESSING the importance of protecting and, as appropriate,
improving the state of the natural resources and natural sites
of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as of their cultural heritage
in the region among other means by the establishment of
specially protected areas including marine areas and their

DESIROUS of establishing close co-operation among themselves in
order to achieve that objective,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

1. The Contracting Parties to this Protocol (hereinafter
referred to as "the Parties") shall take all appropriate
measures with a view to protecting those marine areas which are
important for the safeguard of the natural resources and natural
sites of the Mediterranean Sea Area, as well as for the
safeguard of their cultural heritage in the region.

2. Nothing in this Protocol shall prejudice the codification and
development of the law of the sea by the United Nations
Conference on the Law of the Sea convened pursuant to resolution
2750 C (XXV) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, nor
the present or future claims and legal views of any State
concerning the law of the sea and the nature and extent of
coastal and flag State jurisdiction.

Article 2

For the purposes of the designation of specially protected areas
(hereinafter referred to as "protected areas"), the area to
which this Protocol applies shall be the Mediterranean Sea Area
as defined in article 1 of the Convention for the Protection of
the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (hereinafter referred to
as "the Convention"); it being understood that for the purposes
of the present Protocol, it shall be limited to the territorial
waters of the Parties and may include waters on the landward
side of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial
sea is measured and extending, in the case of watercourses, up
to the freshwater limit. It may also include wetlands or coastal
areas designated by each of the Parties.

Article 3

1. The Parties shall, to the extent possible, establish
protected areas and shall endeavour to undertake the action
necessary in order to protect those areas and, as appropriate,
restore them, as rapidly as possible.

2. Such areas shall be established in order to safeguard in

(a)sites of biological and ecological value; the genetic
diversity, as well as satisfactory population levels, of
species, and their breeding grounds and habitats; --
representative types of ecosystems, as well as ecological

(b) sites of particular importance because of their scientific,
aesthetic, historical, archaeological, cultural or educational

Article 4

The Parties to this Protocol shall, at their first meeting,
formulate and adopt, if necessary in cooperation with the
competent international organizations, common guidelines and, if
needed standards or criteria dealing in particular with:

(a) the selection of protected areas;

(b) the establishment of protected areas;

(c) the management of protected areas;

(d) the notification of information on protected areas.

Article 5

The Parties may strengthen the protection of a protected area by
establishing, within the area to which this Protocol applies,
one or more buffer areas in which activities are less severely
restricted while remaining compatible with the purposes of the
protected area.

Article 6

1. If a Party intends to establish a protected area contiguous
to the frontier or to the limits of the zone of national
jurisdiction of another Party, the competent authorities of the
two Parties shall endeavour to consult each other with a view to
reaching agreement on the measures to be taken and shall, among
other things, examine the possibility of the establishment by
the other Party of a corresponding protected area or the
adoption by it of any other appropriate measure.

2. If a Party intends to establish a protected area contiguous
to the frontier or to the limits of the zone of national
jurisdiction of a State which is not a party to this Protocol,
the Party shall endeavour to work together with the competent
authorities of that State with a view to holding the
consultations referred to in the preceding paragraph.

3. If contiguous protected areas are established by two Parties,
or by one Party and by a State which is not a party to this
Protocol, special agreements may provide for the means whereby
the consultation or the collaboration contemplated in paragraphs
1 and 2 respectively may take place.

4. If a State which is not a party to this Protocol intends to
establish a protected area contiguous to the frontier or to the
limits of the zone of national jurisdiction of a Party to this
Protocol, the latter shall endeavour to work together with that
State with a view to holding consultations, and possibly
concluding a special agreement as referred to in paragraph 3.

Article 7

The Parties, having regard to the objectives pursued and taking
into account the characteristics of each protected area, shall,
in conformity with the rules of the international law,
progressively take the measures required, which may include:

(a) the organization of a planning and management system;

(b) the prohibition of the dumping or discharge of wastes or
other matter which may impair the protected area;

(c) the regulation of the passage of ships and any stopping or

(d) the regulation of fishing and hunting and of the capture of
animals and harvesting of plants;

(e) the prohibition of the destruction of plant life or animals
and of the introduction of exotic species;

(f) the regulation of any act likely to harm or disturb the
fauna or flora, including the introduction of indigenous
zoological or botanical species;

(g) the regulation of any activity involving the exploration or
exploitation of the sea-bed or its subsoil or a modification of
the sea-bed profile;

(h) the regulation of any activity involving a modification of
the profile of the soil or the exploitation of the subsoil of
the land part of a marine protected area;

(i) the regulation of any archaeological activity and of the
removal of any object which may be considered as an
archaeological object;

(j) the regulation of trade in and import and export of animals,
parts of animals, plants, parts of plants and archaeological
objects which originate in protected areas and are subject to
measures of protection;

(k) any other measure aimed at safeguarding ecological and
biological processes in protected areas.

Article 8

1. The Parties shall give appropriate publicity to the
establishment of protected areas, as well as of the areas
provided for in article 5, and to their markings and the
regulations applying thereto.

2. The information referred to in the preceding paragraph shall
be notified to the Organization designated in article 13 of the
Convention (hereinafter referred to as "the Organization") which
shall compile and keep up to date a directory of protected areas
in the area to which this Protocol applies. The Parties shall
supply the Organization with all the information necessary for
that purpose.

Article 9

1. The Parties shall, in promulgating protective measures, take
into account the traditional activities of their local
populations. To the fullest extent possible, no exemption which
is allowed for this reason shall be such as:

(a) to endanger either the maintenance of ecosystems protected
under the terms of the present Protocol or the biological
processes contributing to the maintenance of those ecosystems;

(b) to cause either the extinction of, or any substantial
reduction in, the number of individuals making up the species or
animal and plant populations within the protected ecosystems, or
any ecologically connected species or populations, particularly
migratory species and rare, endangered or endemic species.

2. Parties which allow exemptions with regard to protective
measures or do not apply such measures strictly shall inform the
Organization accordingly.

Article 10

The Parties shall encourage and develop scientific and technical
research on their protected areas and on the ecosystems and
archaeological heritage of those areas.

Article 11

The Parties shall endeavour to inform the public as widely as
possible of the significance and interest of the protected areas
and of the scientific knowledge which may be gained from them
from the point of view of both nature conservation and
archaeology. Such information should have an appropriate place
in education programmes concerning the environment and history.
The Parties should also endeavour to promote the participation
of their public and their nature conservation organizations in
appropriate measures which are necessary for the protection of
the areas concerned.

Article 12

The Parties shall, to the extent possible, establish a
co-operation programme to co-ordinate the establishment,
planning, management and conservation of protected areas, with a
view to creating a network of protected areas in the
Mediterranean region, taking fully into account existing
networks, especially that of biosphere reserves of UNESCO. There
shall be regular exchanges of information concerning the
characteristics of the protected areas, the experience acquired
and the problems encountered.

The Parties shall, in accordance with the procedures set forth
in article 14, exchange scientific and technical information
concerning current or planned research and the results expected.
They shall, to the fullest extent possible, co-ordinate their
research. They shall, moreover, endeavour to define jointly or
to standardize the scientific methods to be applied in the
selection, management and monitoring of protected areas.

Article 14

1. In applying the principles of co-operation set forth in
articles 12 and 13, the Parties shall forward to the

(a) comparable information for monitoring the biological
development of the Mediterranean environment;

(b) reports, publications and information of a scientific,
administrative and legal nature, in particular: on the measures
taken by the Parties in pursuance of this Protocol for the
protection of the protected areas; on the species present in the
protected areas; on any threats to those areas, especially those
which may come from sources of pollution outside their control.

2. The Parties shall designate persons responsible for protected
areas. Those persons shall meet at least once every two years to
discuss matters of joint interest and especially to propose
recommendations concerning scientific, administrative and legal
information as well as the standardization and processing of

Article 15

1. The Parties shall, directly or with the assistance of
competent regional or other international organizations or
bilaterally, co-operate, on the entry into force of this
Protocol, in formulating and implementing programmes of mutual
assistance and of assistance to those developing countries which
express a need for it in the selection, establishment and
management of protected areas.

2. The programmes contemplated in the preceding paragraph should
relate, in particular, to the training of scientific and
technical personnel, scientific research, and the acquisition,
utilization and production by those countries of appropriate
equipment on advantageous terms to be agreed among the Parties

Article 16

Changes in the delimitation or legal status of a protected area
or the suppression of all or part of such an area may not take
place except under a similar procedure to that followed for its

Article 17

1. The ordinary meetings of the Parties to this Protocol shall
be held in conjunction with the ordinary meetings of the
Contracting Parties to the Convention held pursuant to article
14 of the Convention. The Parties may also hold extraordinary
meetings in conformity with that article.

2. It shall be the function of the meetings of the Parties to
this Protocol, in particular:

(a) to keep under review the implementation of this Protocol;

(b) to consider the efficacy of the measures adopted, having
regard in particular to the area to which the Protocol applies,
and to examine the need for other measures, in particular in the
form of annexes, or for envisaging, if necessary, an alteration
to that area, in conformity with the provisions of article 16 of
the Convention;

(c) to adopt, review and amend as required any annex to this

(d) to monitor the establishment and development of the network
of protected areas provided by article 12, and to adopt
guidelines to facilitate the establishment and development of
that system and to increase co-operation among the Parties;

(e) to consider the recommendations made by the meetings of the
persons responsible for the protected areas, as provided by
article 14, paragraph 2;

(f) to consider reports transmitted by the Parties to the
Organization under article 20 of the Convention and any other
information which the Parties may transmit to the Organization
or to the meeting of the Parties.

Article 18

1. The provisions of the Convention relating to any protocol
shall apply with respect to the present Protocol. 2. The rules
of procedure and the financial rules adopted pursuant to article
18, paragraph 2, of the Convention shall apply with respect to
this Protocol unless the Parties to this Protocol agree

3. This Protocol shall be open for signature, at Geneva on 3 and
4 April 1982, and at Madrid from 5 April 1982 to 2 April 1983 by
any Contracting Party to the Convention and any State invited to
the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Protocol concerning
Mediterranean Specially Protected Areas held at Geneva on 2 and
3 April 1982. It shall also be open for signature from 5 April
1982 to 2 April 1983 by any regional economic grouping of which
at least one member is a coastal State of the Mediterranean Sea
Area and which exercises competence in fields covered by this

4. This Protocol shall be subject to ratification acceptance or
approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval
shall be deposited with the Government of Spain, which will
assume the functions of Depositary.

5. As from 3 April 1983, this Protocol shall be open for
accession by the Contracting Parties to the Convention and by
any State or grouping referred to in paragraph 3.

6. This Protocol shall enter into force on the thirtieth day
following the deposit of at least six instruments of
ratification, acceptance or approval of, or accession to, the

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized, have
signed this Protocol.

Done at Geneva on this third day of April one thousand nine
hundred and eighty-two in a single copy in the Arabic, English,
French and Spanish languages, the four texts being equally