Call to strictly regulate Mediterranean offshore oil exploitation

14 September 2012 | Article

IUCN's Members Assembly has adopted a recommendation aimed at strictly regulating the development of offshore oil exploitation policies and projects in the Mediterranean.

The motion was proposed by Fondation pour la nature et l'homme with the support of 16 other organizations, including Pro-natura International and Réserves Naturelles de France. All are deeply concerned about the increase in offshore drilling for oil and gas production and the numerous serious accidents that have occurred since 1976 on oil platforms in the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean Sea includes the Mediterranean Basin, the Azores islands, Madeira and the Canary Islands and is one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots.

Through this motion, the World Conservation Congress asks the Mediterranean coastal States to regulate the development of offshore oil exploitation policies and projects in several ways including:

  • to apply the precautionary principle to offshore development projects for remarkable and sensitive natural environments as well as protected areas;
  • refuse to allow gas, oil or any other kind of exploration or exploitation permits for areas near natural sites which have national or international importance should any impacts be identified and
  • reinforce prior scientific studies on the study of coastal and marine environments.

The motion also promotes both the development of renewable energy sources as an alternative to the exploitation of fossil fuels and the conservation of natural environments in order to establish a sustainable and coherent plan for the future of the Mediterranean.