Environment challenges in the Mediterranean discussed at UfM Ministerial meeting

14.05.2014

Ministers from countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) encouraged the Union to closely cooperate with the Barcelona Convention for reducing pollution pressures and increasing resource efficiency.

Ministers in charge of environment and climate change from the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) gathered on 13 May 2014 in Athens within the framework the Horizon 2020.

They recognized the broad support enjoyed by the Barcelona Convention and welcomed the cooperation agreement between the UfM and the Barcelona Convention signed during the 18th meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Convention held in Istanbul in December 2013. Ministers analyzed the conclusions and recommendations of the implementation of the Horizon 2020 Initiative’s first phase (2007-2013), and agreed to launch its second phase.

They all acknowledged that shifting towards sustainable consumption and production patterns is essential to reduce pollution and waste, as well as to increase resource and energy efficiency and hence the prevention of climate change and pollution impacts.

They committed to policy reforms to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns, bearing in mind the unequal economic development and social disparities among Mediterranean countries; They confirmed that transition to green and low emissions economy will provide real opportunities for preserving natural resources, job creation, improvement of the quality of life for all and ensure a sustainable future.

In her address on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean, Maria Luisa Silva Mejias, Executive Secretary and Coordinator of the Barcelona Convention – UNEP/MAP stressed that “Environment and Sustainable Development are intrinsically connected. Progress towards a healthy Mediterranean requires emphasis on actions managing human activities as much as those managing of habitats”.

Ministers also acknowledged ongoing efforts on climate action and recent developments in climate policies and measures across the Euro-Mediterranean region. They underlined the importance of intensifying efforts to further support the development of low emission, and climate resilient economies, consistent with national circumstances and priorities, poverty eradication and sustainable development objectives.