On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Center of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) held an international conference on environment and development in the Mediterranean in Paris, on 5 June 2018, also coinciding with World Environment Day.
The event, entitled “Environment and development in the Mediterranean, yesterday, today and tomorrow” was attended by French authorities, representatives of Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, partner and civil society organizations, as well as representatives of the MAP system.
In his opening address, Mr. Gaetano Leone, UN Environment / MAP Coordinator highlighted the numerous commendable achievements of the MAP system since the inception of the MAP in 1975, noting the important role of Plan Bleu as regional observatory of the environment and development, in building future scenarios and shared visions for a more sustainable Mediterranean. Plan Bleu has also provided significant scientific and technical support to the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD), particularly for the preparation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development adopted in 2016 – as a strategic guiding document for all stakeholders and partners to translate the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional, national and local levels.
The conference programme featured the presentation of Plan Bleu’s ongoing work for the preparation of the “Foresight Study on the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean” (MED2050). The study, which will be published in 2022, will provide scenarios and explore possible futures based on existing knowledge, aiming at fostering dialogue and partnership, and mobilizing Mediterranean policymakers and stakeholders beyond institutional boundaries.
The conference also featured a round table gathering Mediterranean experts and decision-makers to discuss prospective visions for a sustainable Mediterranean. During his closing remarks, Mr. Leone stressed the decisive role of the MAP system, in current and future developments, owed to its leading position in supporting cooperation in the Mediterranean, which is backed by a unique set of policies and instruments addressing common environment and development challenges.
“In our region maybe more than elsewhere in the world, quality of life and livelihoods are highly dependent on marine and coastal resources. At the same time, the Mediterranean region benefits from great opportunities: a millenarian tradition of community of destiny, a vibrant civil society, a high level of education, access to vast financial resources and the most advanced technologies, prestigious institutions of science and research, and a private sector that increasingly shows a shared sense of urgency, responsibility and, ultimately, the need for change that entails” he said.
As confirmed by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention during their last ordinary meeting in December 2017 in Tirana, Albania, the MAP / Barcelona Convention mandate is crucial for achieving global aspirations and goals for sustainable development. After four decades of efforts, the regional dimension continues to play an increasingly important role in the implementation of global policies, strategies, and action plans, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDGs.