The legal framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan continued to be updated and expanded with the adoption of a new Protocol on hazardous wastes under negotiation since 1993 and of an amended protocol on land- based sources of marine pollution. Work on a protocol on compensation and liability was still underway.
On 6-7 March, a conference of plenipotentiaries met in Syracuse, Sicily, and adopted (→) Amendments to the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources. The major modifications include: introduction of the precautionary principle, the polluter-pays principle, and environmental impact assessment; application of best available techniques and environmental practice, including clean technologies; extension of the Protocol area to the hydrological basin; development of national and regional action plans and programmes with timetables for their implementation, including action plans in conformity with the Global Programme of Action for the protection of the marine environment from land-based activities; stronger inspection systems to be developed by national authorities; and strengthened and more frequent reporting obligations for member states on the measures taken and the problems experienced in implementing the Protocol.
On 4-5 November, the Meeting of the Bureau of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution and its Protocols was held in Athens. A progress report was presented, together with recommendations on specific issues relevant to the implementation of activities carried out since the last meeting of the Bureau.
On 1 October, a Protocol on the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal was adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Izmir, Turkey. The text of the new Protocol, which was to remain open for signature until 1 October 1997, had been finalized over the course of three technical and legal meetings, the last of which took place in Izmir, 26-28 September 1996. The Conference requested the first meeting of the parties to consider the establishment of a regional centre for training and technical assistance in the field of hazardous wastes.