The Mediterranean: Awareness for action

Human activities and behavior are the main drivers of environmental change in the world, and the Mediterranean is no exception. These activities place increasing pressure on ecosystems leading to degradation of the environment and livelihoods. A further exacerbation of the existing fragilities of the eco-socio system Mediterranean is projected.

The Mediterranean region has one of the highest ecological deficits in the world. The ecological footprint per capita in the Mediterranean (3.2 hag / inhabitant) is higher than the world average (2.8 hag / inhabitant), while the biocapacity per inhabitant - making it possible to support this footprint - is lower than the world average in the majority of Mediterranean countries (except in France, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia).

Profound changes for sustainable development are needed. In order to induce transformative change that tackles the drivers of environmental degradation, the report identified five levers of action:

  • Incentives and capacity building: phasing out environmentally harmful subsidies and incentivizing sustainable options – including removing subsidies on non-renewable energies and groundwater extraction – while empowering local administrations and actors to implement nationally or internationally agreed commitments and measures.
  • Intersectoral cooperation: ensuring that shifting development pathways are shared by all sectors, not just Ministries of the Environment, and prioritising sustainability in all sectoral policies.
  • Preventive action: implementing measures that prevent degradation, which are generally less costly and lead to better environmental and social outcomes than clean-up and curative action.
  • Resilience-building under uncertainty: directing action and investment towards adaptation to projected environmental stresses, including by harnessing nature-based solutions.
  • Enforcement of legal obligations: promoting the adoption of provisions in national legislation to allow for accountability and legal action, and strengthening the legal and administrative mechanisms involved in enforcement including those undertaken by the Mediterranean countries under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols.

The report provides a foundation for evidence-based environmental action in the region; its authors stress the urgent need for appropriate and effective policy responses to alleviate pressure on the environment while meeting pressing human development needs.

The declarations of the UNEP / MAP Coordinator, Gaetano Leone, and the Director of Plan Bleu, François Guerquin, make us aware that it is urgent to reverse the trajectories, and to disseminate the innovations and promising initiatives carried by many actors in the basin.

Please visit the SoED's webpage for more information and to download the full Report, the Summary for decision makers, the Key Messages and other documents.



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published on 2021/01/15 08:39:00 GMT+0 last modified 2021-01-22T10:01:37+00:00