The Mediterranean, which links the African, Asian and European continents, and which has a coastline of 46 000 kilometres shared by 19 countries, is particularly under threat. As a semi-landlocked sea, it renews its waters very slowly. It is also especially exposed because it is used as an overspill area by all the waste water networks belonging to the bordering countries, and is an area with an intense maritime traffic, mainly composed of ships carrying hydrocarbons.
Moreover, the shores of the Mediterranean are covered by extensive urbanisation and industrialisation, sometimes difficult to reconcile with the preservation of the marine medium, resources generated by it, and the quality of water, fauna and flora and natural sites.
First of all, it seems necessary to make a diagnosis of the harm suffered by the environment, be it the sea itself or its shores.
A second stage would consist of taking stock of the global situation and the efficiency of existing legal and technical mechanisms for anticipating these harmful effects, for fighting against their consequences, especially in case of emergencies (such as hydrocarbon pollution).
And finally, one must take all the above into consideration, before making any proposals for legal or other measures.
The study of those different points will have to be done from the national angle as well as from the international co-operation angle. It would be timely to draft all proposals for improving the efficiency of this co-operation, devoting particular attention to finding a way to associate the bordering countries of the Mediterranean which are not members of the Council of Europe, especially in prevention and operational intervention.
This is the reason why the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe needs to study the harm to the environment in the maritime zones and to the shores of the Mediterranean and to propose legal and other measures in favour of prevention in the fight against harm to the environment in the Mediterranean sea sphere.