The report on the State of the Environment and Development (SoED) released on 21 October 2020 warns that the Mediterranean basin is facing environmental and developmental challenges of an unprecedented scale. Against a backdrop of rising inequalities, the alarming pace of biodiversity loss, the rising impacts of climate change and the unrelenting pressure on natural resources, including pollution, are pushing the region towards dangerous tipping points. Unless urgent and resolute action is taken to halt current trends, irreversible environmental degradation could have dire consequences for human health and livelihoods.

SoED, which was last published a decade ago, is produced by Plan Bleu, a Regional Activity Centre of the UN Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP). It is aimed at decision-makers and all actors in the fields of environment and development in the Mediterranean region. It is the most comprehensive and rigorous assessment of its kind and its production entailed a two-year effort of knowledge compilation undertaken by 150 experts mobilized by Plan Bleu from across the region. Representatives of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union), for which UNEP serves as Secretariat, took part in the SoED preparation process.

The majors questions which this report addresses are : What is the state, what are the trends and what can be observed in the environment and development in the Mediterranean? What are the causes? What are the responses? What are the achievements and shortcomings? What science-based priorities should be set for the next 10 years?

The report is the result of a collective effort by the Contracting Parties, members of the  Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD), and MAP components and partners who have expertise in relevant fields in the Mediterranean. Its production entailed a two-year effort of knowledge compilation undertaken by 150 experts mobilized from across the region by Plan Bleu. Under the general supervision of the MAP Coordinating Unit, Plan Bleu is responsible for the development process of SoED with the support of all MAP components.

This is the first report of this scope in the Mediterranean. According to the report, the Mediterranean is facing environmental challenges of an unprecedented magnitude. The SoED 2020 accurately points out the risks faced by all countries in terms of climate change, maintenance of biodiversity, sustainable management of resources, control of solid or air pollution (waste, chemicals, particles, etc.), underlines weaknesses in governance that make it challenging to deal

with them, and reveals the needed profound changes for a sustainable development in the Region.   

The Mediterranean will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 if no urgent measures are taken to respond to the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, the increasingly marked effects of climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources. However, there are reasons for hope if collective and lasting actions are put in place.

Why this SoED 2020? - Mediterranean Countries and Stakeholders have expressed a need and interest for new information and analysis on environment and development, through recent maps, graphics, data and policies. In the Mediterranean Region, no report of this magnitude had been produced over the past decade. The objective of SoED 2020 is to fill these gaps and increase awareness and understanding of the environmental state and trends in the Mediterranean, their driving forces and impacts, as well as to propose potential responses, while making it easier to measure progress towards sustainable development. The SoED 2020 also provides an up-to-date database to improve the implementation of the MAP 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016-2025 (MSSD). Another objective of this report is to demonstrate the ability to monitor and analyze the state of the environment, the impact of human activities on the environment and the potential impact of environmental degradation on our well-being and our activities. The SoED 2020 will also be useful for the MED 2050 foresight exercise.

The SoED 2020 is made up of eight thematic chapters and is complemented by two position papers: the Summary for decision makers that provides an overview of the state of the environment and development in the Mediterranean and is intended for a wide audience, and the Key Messages that gathers evidence from various chapters most closely related to marine and coastal environmental issues and highlights the combined interactions and impacts according to the analytical framework of factors-pressures-state-impacts-responses (DPSIR). The key messages develop a broader significance of the results, conveying relevant but non-prescriptive suggestions for policy makers in the context of the Mediterranean Action Plan – The Barcelona Convention System, and identify priority areas for future policy-oriented research. Key messages are consistent with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, as well as the SMDD.

The SoED 2020 was presented a first time to the International Press Agencies, on October 21, 2020, and a second time to the French Press Agencies on November 18, 2020, both during a Press Conference organized by Plan Bleu, the Regional Activity Centre of UNEP / MAP.


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published on 2021/01/15 08:39:37 GMT+0 last modified 2020-12-21T17:27:42+00:00