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Clean Mediterranean Sea!


Our Research Study

In light of the increasing plastic pollution of the Mediterranean Sea – whose maritime ecosystem is already heavily impacted by the effects of the climate crisis – Clean Mediterranean Sea! (CMS!) has researched the current legal and political measures and initiatives taken by the EU, OSCE and UN as well as the coastal states of the Mediterranean that are designed to counteract this development.

With interdisciplinary support from the Austrian marine biology NGO MareMundi and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Austria, as well as contributions by legal scholars from various universities and other academic institutions in coastal states of the Mediterranean Sea, CMS! has conducted interdisciplinary analyses on the topic and developed legal policy proposals and recommendations based on the research findings. The research findings and recommendations will be presented at the CMS! Closing Conference and be addressed to the EU, the OSCE, the UN and the coastal states of the Mediterranean.

International and European Legal Framework - Policies - Jurisdiction – Corporate Social Responsibility

By examining international agreements and conventions, such as the Barcelona Convention, as well as European directives and regulations like the Single Use Plastics Directive, we discuss the legal obligations and commitments in place to combat plastic pollution in the Mediterranean.

Additionally, we investigate the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and explore the role of corporations in addressing plastic pollution. We analyse best practices, initiatives, and voluntary commitments taken by businesses to reduce plastic waste and promote sustainable practices.

Furthermore, we analyse the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in relation to plastic pollution cases in the Mediterranean, examining their role in ensuring compliance with environmental regulations and safeguarding human rights.

Legal and Factual Situation in Mediterranean States

We compile comprehensive country reports, which provide an extensive analysis of the legal and factual landscape in the respective Mediterranean States. Thereby we assess national constitutional laws, regular national laws, and other legal measures addressing plastic waste management.

Moreover, we scrutinize the implementation of international and regional conventions, treaties, and programmes within domestic laws and policies, highlighting the level of compliance and effectiveness.

Lastly the reports also delve into the intricacies of domestic waste management laws and legal practices, meticulously identifying any gaps or shortcomings in the existing frameworks, as well as evaluate models of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practiced by companies in the respective countries in relation to plastic waste management.


Comparative Legal Assessment

Our research study conducts a thorough comparative assessment of the factual legal situation in the riparian states of the Mediterranean. A primary focus of the study is to analyse and compare various aspects such as domestic laws, jurisdictions, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

Additionally, we will examine the implementation of international and European laws in these states, with a special focus on control mechanisms and possibilities for improved judicial enforcement and sanctioning violations.

By conducting a detailed analysis of these legal frameworks we aim to identify the similarities, differences and potential gaps in the legal landscape in the Mediterranean region, by taking into account the diverse geographic, political, and socio-economic contexts of the respective countries.


Our study seeks to provide insights into the legal and regulatory framework of plastic waste management in the Mediterranean region and identify opportunities for improvement and best practices. Our ultimate objective is the formulation of concrete recommendations and reform proposals referring to respective gaps and shortcomings in international, European and national legislation, policy and practice (specifically regarding the insufficient implementation of existing national legislation through a lack of control mechanisms and effective sanctions) to prevent an ecological collapse of the Mediterranean Sea. These will be transmitted to the EU, Council of Europe, OSCE, UN, and to the EU and non-EU coastal states of the Mediterranean Sea as well as to relevant enterprises.

Plastikflasche am Strand

About us

“Clean Mediterranean Sea! – CMS!“ is an “academic start-up“ project at the Vienna Forum for Democracy and Human Rights. It was initiated in 2019 by students of law at the University of Vienna after a seminar held by Hannes Tretter on the topic of “Human rights and environmental protection using the example of the Mediterranean Sea” and was subsequently supervised and academically managed by him. Since 2020, the project has been financially supported by the Hermann and Marianne Straniak Foundation (Switzerland,, to enable the continuation of our work at a professional level.

Project Lead

Hannes Tretter

Project Founder


Clara Zimmermann

Project Coordinator

Main Sponsor

Sincere thanks to...

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