Focus on the Mediterranean: the work of the Stockholm Convention Regional Centre in Spain (SCRC Spain)

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (hereinafter SCP/RAC) is a centre for international cooperation on development and innovation based on the sustainable consumption and production approach (hereinafter SCP).

SCP is the combination of the implementation of tools and measures geared towards redesigning how goods and services are consumed and produced to drive industrial and socioeconomic development towards circular economies that are non-polluting, no-waste, low-carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive.

SCP/RAC operates in support of two international treaties: the Stockholm Convention[1], an international agreement involving 180 countries to fight against the generation of persistent organic pollutants, highly polluting and toxic substances; and the Barcelona Convention[2], which brings together the 21 Mediterranean neighbouring countries[3] to work together for the protection of the common environment and for sustainable development.

The Centre, established since 1996, is based in Barcelona and it is hosted by the Catalan Waste Agency, a reference institution for waste prevention and circular economy.

The fight against toxic chemicals and especially POPs is the core objective of the Stockholm Convention and is one of the priorities to protect the Mediterranean environment through the Barcelona Convention. In that context, countries of both conventions share the same concern on the important role played by plastics in the marine environment in the global transport of toxic chemicals. Especially in the Mediterranean region and its sea, marine litter has become a critical issue, as a region accumulating a high concentration of plastics. The most worrying environmental consequences of marine litter stem from toxic chemicals transfer through microplastics. Both Endocrine Disruptive Compounds (EDC) as well as POPs are transferred from microplastic litter to marine organisms and consequently to humans.

The support of SCP/RAC in addressing those challenges focuses on the prevention of the use toxic chemicals and the generation of marine litter through the promotion of safe alternatives and the development of circular economy-based measures.

The tasks that SCP/RAC develops in the performance of its mandate under those Conventions consist on:

  • Supporting the member countries of both conventions in the development of national policies and measures for the circular economy
  • Providing advice and advocacy services to interested countries and international entities for the integration of eco-innovation, pollution prevention and the use of alternatives to of toxic chemicals as strategic axes in international policies for environmental protection and sustainable development
  • Promoting the creation of new business models and green jobs based on eco-innovation through the training and support of entrepreneurs and SMEs, the provision of services for business development, networking activities and the facilitation of access to financing
  • Promoting an Mediterranean network of entrepreneurs, companies, financial entities and investors and civil society organizations for the green economy
  • Fostering the introduction of solutions on eco-innovation, circular economy and safe alternatives to toxic chemicals for SMEs and financial entities through the provision of advisory services, training and accompaniment in the implementation of measures.

Some of the most outstanding initiatives and projects in which the center participates are:

SwitchMed: Funded by the EC, SwitchMed is one of the main programmes to support Mediterranean countries to shift to circular economies. Under Switchmed, SCP/RAC prepared a Mediterranean Regional Plan identifying around 60 actions for SCP that has been adopted by the 21 countries members to the Barcelona Convention. Likewise the center manages a Mediterranean Hub for SCP and circular economy and develops a pioneering programme to support the development of eco-innovative businesses for blue and circular economy in the Mediterranean. The programme is impact-designed, providing training, coaching, advisory, networking and access to funding services. It includes a unique training methodology to design businesses for circular economy. So far SCP/RAC has trained 1,600 entrepreneurs, leading to the same number of new business ideas for SCP; has contributed to the creation of 100 new businesses; and has established a fund for green entrepreneurs.

EU-funded Marine Litter MED Project: the project aims at supporting the MENA countries in the development of measures to prevent the generation of ML. In the framework of the project, SCP/RAC is in charge of the development of measures to prevent the single-use plastics and the promotion of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) strategies. In a first phase of the project, the center has identified 25 innovative and inspiring solutions to combat plastic marine litter and 20 solutions to prevent the use of toxic chemicals (PBT, EDC, vPvB, CMR) in products.

Act4Litter: SCP/RAC leads this Interreg Med project which identifies more than 100 measures to prevent and minimize environmental and health impacts and quantities of plastic waste and microplastics that could become plastic marine litter. A Decision-Making tool developed within the project will allow to select the most effective and feasible measure for the Mediterranean specific context.

SWIM-H2020 SM Project: This project, funded by the EU in the framework of the Horizon 2020 Initiative for the Mediterranean, aims to contribute to reduce marine pollution and a sustainable use of scarce water resources in the MENA region. SCP/RAC’s involvement in the project focuses on the development of an expert facility, peer-to-peer experience sharing and dialogue and in capitalizing the lessons learnt, good practices and success stories in the fields of green and circular economy, pollution prevention and sustainable finance.

GEF Mediterranean Sea Programme “Enhancing Environmental Security”. This programme funded by the Global Environmental Facility and which will be launched in short, aims at reducing the major transboundary environmental stresses affecting the Mediterranean Sea and its coastal areas, including harmful chemicals and wastes. SCP/RAC will be involved in the development of measures for the prevention of POPs and new POPs and the prevention and elimination of Mercury.




[3] The 22 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the European Union.