The Mediterranean Sea is a closed basin with 21 coastal States, a total coastal population of about 210 million, with some 360 million visitors every year, and more than 20 percent of global maritime traffic passing through it. Even though the Mediterranean amounts to less than one percent of the ocean surface, it is a natural habitat for around 18 percent of the world’s marine species. According to the IUCN Red List, the Mediterranean basin is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot. The state of the environment in the Mediterranean, however, continues to be under significant threat of degradation. This chapter maps and analyses the evolution and the current status of the regional framework for the protection of the Mediterranean Sea under the UNEP Regional Seas Programme addressing various sources of pollution, loss of biodiversity and the adverse impacts of climate change.
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