The resolutions adopted at the 1994 IUCN General Assembly in Buenos Aires and at the World Conservation Congress in Montreal in 1996 called on the IUCN Secretariat to work with the members to develop a programme for the Mediterranean region, and to establish an IUCN Mediterranean Programme Office. The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation was subsequently established in October 2001. The Centre and its programme receive generous core support from the Junta de Andalucia, the Spanish Ministry of Environment and the Agency for International Cooperation and Development in Spain.
The work of the Centre from 2002-2004 was laid out in a planning document which was submitted to the Chairmen of the IUCN National Committees for comment, and subsequently to all IUCN members. The 2005-2008 programme was discussed during the IUCN Mediterranean Members Meeting held in Naples in June 2004. Through consultation with members, this plan has identified those areas in which IUCN can have a longer-term impact in the Mediterranean, so it can address the key issues affecting the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. The objectives, which reflect the significant areas of work that the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation will fulfil in order to achieve its goal, are:
- Making knowledge, information and experience available regarding the conservation and management of Mediterranean biodiversity and natural resources for sustainable-use and rehabilitation efforts.
- Strengthening and supporting IUCN members and Commissions in the region to mainstream social, economic and environmental dimensions in policy-making, management, and the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources.
- Promoting, both globally and regionally, Mediterranean policies on conservation and sustainable development, and supporting mechanisms for their implementation.