Increasing concern over the deterioration of the Mediterranean sea as a result of increasing pollution by untreated sewage and industrial wastes, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers and oil discharges, led to a series of meetings between 1970 and 1974, and finally to the UNEP-sponsored Mediterranean Action Plan, adopted by governments of the region in 1975 and ongoing since that time.

The legal component of the Plan includes a framework Convention and four protocols; the environmental assessment component (the MED POL programme) consists of national pollution monitoring programmes, and research projects conducted by Mediterranean institutions; the environmental management component consists of the Blue Plan (a prospective study combining socio-economic development with environmental preservation) and the Priority Actions Programme (a series of sub-region sectoral projects in defined areas). The Plan has been financed by Mediterranean States since 1979, and is managed by UNEP with the cooperation of other competent UN Agencies.

During the last ten years, activities undertaken have improved knowledge of the state of pollution of the Mediterranean sea, and facilitated joint regional action in the form of preventive and control measures.

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