accobams blu piccoloThe Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area, ACCOBAMS (a special agreement under the umbrella of the Convention on Migratory Species) was signed in Monaco in November 1996 and came into force in June 2001.  This resulted from a long-term joint consultative process by the Barcelona, Bern and Bonn Conventions, with several meetings organised in Athens (1992) and Monaco (1995, 1996). I participated in all of them.

I was invited to attend as an expert of the Agreement’s Interim Secretariat to the First Meeting of the Parties to ACCOBAMS, held in Monaco in Feb. – March 2002, where the Agreement’s conservation priorities, which I had developed for the Secretariat, were formally adopted. I was then nominated chair of the Agreement’s Scientific Committee during its first meeting, and held that position until the Fourth Meeting of the Parties, in 2010.

I have been instrumental in the organisation of the work of the ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee since its beginning, through the chairing of its first 6 meetings, and the organisation of the intersessional work. My activities as Committee chair provided me with the unique opportunity for contributing to the construction of a cetacean conservation policy in the region, including the strengthening of cetacean ecological science, the identification and mitigation of threats, progress in building capacity in cetacean conservation across the region, and the establishment of specially protected areas.  Support to the ACCOBAMS Secretariat also included the editing of the Agreement’s newsletter, FINS; the designing and maintaining of the Agreement’s website; and the moderation of the web-based database.