At the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries on the ICZM Protocol that took place on 20-21 January 2008 in Madrid, the ICZM Protocol was signed. Under the presidency of the Minister of Environment of Spain, H.E. Ms. Cristina Narbona Ruiz, fourteen Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention signed the Protocol. These are the following: Algeria, Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria and Tunisia. All other Parties announced to do so in the very near future. This is the 7th Protocol in the framework of the Barcelona Convention, and the decision to approve the draft text and recommendation to the Conference of the Plenipotentiaries to sign it was taken at the 15th Ordinary Meting of the Contracting Parties during their meeting in Almeria, on 15-18 January 2008. All the parties are convinced that this Protocol is a crucial milestone in the history of MAP. It will allow the countries to better manage their coastal zones, as well as to deal with the emerging coastal environmental challenges, such as the climate change.
The ICZM Protocol is a unique legal instrument in the entire international community and the Mediterranean countries are proud of this fact. They are willing to share these experiences with other coastal countries of the world. The signing of the Protocol came after six years of dedicated work of all the Parties.
The work was intensified in the last biennium following the decision of the 14 th Contracting Parties meeting in Portoroz, in November 2005, to establish the governments' designated Working Group of Experts. Now, all the Parties are urged to ratify the Protocol so that it enters into force as soon as possible.