What we do

We act as a technical and political platform for the intervention of NGOs in the Euro-Mediterranean scene on resources and waste, nature, biodiversity, cultural diversity, climate change, health and environment as well as on horizontal and cross-cutting issues. In a nutshell …

…our main focal areas are:

Biodiversity & Nature

Addressing the major threat of Invasive Alien Species to biodiversity; promoting better management of the Natura 2000 network and other Protected Areas through educating on Sustainable Development; facilitating the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach as a tool to manage human activities and safeguard healthy marine and coastal ecosystems; highlighting the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity; following international/regional processes and promoting a comprehensive approach as key to addressing nature and biodiversity related challenges.

Chemicals

Advocating the effective regulation of nanomaterials & nanotechnologies and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals.

Climate Change

Climate change permeates all our actions by addressing: the vital role that Protected Areas play in contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation; how the severe impacts of invasion by alien species are further exacerbated by climate change; the crucial links between climate change, biodiversity and sustainable resource management that are part of the ecosystem-based approach; the anticipated effects on fisheries and aquaculture in relation to Blue Growth; the negative impacts of climate change on South-Eastern Europe’s water status; addressing urban climate vulnerability; adaptation actions in transboundary water resources and coastal management; urban climate vulnerability in the Mediterranean and beyond.

Marine & Coastal Environment

Supporting the proper implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Ecosystem Approach; tackling the issue of Marine Litter; promoting sustainable Blue Economy and Blue Growth, advocating for integrated Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)/Integrated Coastal Zone Managements (ICZM)/Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).

Waste

Paving the way towards a ‘circular’ economy, with a cascading use of resources and residual waste close to zero; promoting sustainable cities and communities.

Water Resources

Promoting the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, particularly in South-Eastern Europe; promoting Non-Conventional Water Resources Management and a ‘New Water Culture’; contributing to regional and sub-regional dialogues on water governance issues, promoting Integrated Water Resources Management in transboundary river and lake basin settings.

MIO-ECSDE is a member of and hosts the Chair and Secretariat of GWP-Med (the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean). GWP-Med supports the sustainable development and management of water resources at all levels in the Mediterranean.

…our main lines of action are:

Monitoring and influencing EU and regional Mediterranean policies and bodies

We monitor the EU, Mediterranean and international environmental policies as well as other sectoral policies that directly or indirectly affect the Mediterranean. Through our membership and partners, we also influence relevant national developments.

Our focus is on the European Institutions, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP and its Regional Activity Centers), other UN bodies such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), UNESCO and other UN bodies and conventions, the League of Arab States, Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, etc.

To influence EuroMediterranean policy development and implementation, national policies and action plans we advocate through position papers, policy briefs, statements, etc., contribute to on-line consultations and directly participate in policy debates, expert groups, consultations, etc. acting as channels between the local/national level and decision makers.

We try to get involved as early as possible, i.e. not only in the policy formulation stage but in the technical preparation phases as well.

Drafting, promoting and presenting common NGO positions

As the only Federation of its kind, MIO-ECSDE manages to reach consensus among its members, draft common positions on key issues and systematically reinforce the collective voice of the environment and development citizen organisations at international fora and conventions. We are frequently entrusted and mandated to represent the Mediterranean NGOs in major international conferences (Ministerial, Intergovernmental, etc.) and processes, presenting joint NGO Declarations and collective views. MIO-ECSDE has drafted, proposed and lobbied many common NGO policies, position papers and memoranda and organized almost an equal number of politically significant meetings, official side events, multi-stakeholder events and press conferences, even at global level (Rio+20, WSSD, UNCED, …).

Promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), public awareness, public participation and access to Information

2014 was a year with a major ESD milestone: the endorsement of the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development by the 43 Member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean. MIO-ECSDE had been working incessantly since 2005 and with the support of the Horizon 2020 Initiative to Depollute the Mediterranean this goal was achieved. The Strategy was presented by the Chairman of MIO-ECSDE Prof. Michael Scoullos, as a Mediterranean achievement, at the Nagoya World Conference on ESD (November 2014). Our ESD Team supports the Secretariat of the Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability (MEdIES) and its e-network. They carry out several activities to support educators and students of the Mediterranean, through targeted projects, seminars, educational materials, e-courses, etc.

Since its establishment MIO-ECSDE has promoted Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and the principles of the Aarhus Convention in all EuroMediterranean political fora, as key to environmental integrity in the region. Recognizing the crucial importance of awareness and participation in the achievement of social and economic well-being of the Mediterranean people, we have invested considerable time in research, development and amelioration of participatory techniques leading to consensus among social partners and eventually to action. The participatory processes that MIO-ECSDE has initiated among NGOs and other stakeholders since 1991 have contributed considerably to consensus building, mutual trust and solidarity in the Mediterranean and to the improvement of North-South, South-South and East-West cooperation.

Within this framework, MIO-ECSDE has produced multiple publications, guidelines for public participation, toolkits for journalists, and has organized workshops and seminars as well as joint conferences of civil society organizations, administrators, parliamentarians and journalists.

Capacity building of specific audiences

One of its initial aims since its establishment was the contribution of MIO-ECSDE to the capacity building of Mediterranean NGOs. It started in the early 90s with month-long residential workshops for NGO staff and evolved over the decades to strengthening capacities of all other actors that affect environmental issues, from decision makers (Members of Parliament, administrators) to industrial sectors, local authorities, journalists, etc. We have (co-)organized over 400 capacity building activities and facilitated the exchange of best practices on crucial European and Mediterranean environmental and socio-economic issues.

Networking, international collaborations & partnerships

MIO-ECSDE maintains good relations with international institutes, networks and groups the world over. As a result, over the years we have partnered in many joint efforts and major international projects.

Facilitating Mediterranean stakeholder networks
A Network of Networks

MIO-ECSDE facilitates four other networks of major Mediterranean stakeholders who play a key role in addressing the region’s environmental and sustainable development challenges:

  • Educators through MEdIES (Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability) (www.medies.net)
  • Members of Parliament through COMPSUD (Circle of Mediterranean Parliamentarians for Sustainable Development)
  • Journalists through COMJESD (Circle of Mediterranean Journalists for Environment and Sustainable Development)
  • Universities through the Network of Mediterranean Universities for Sustainable Development, focusing on Education for Sustainable Development
Advancing scientific research & provision of scientific/technical expertise

MIO-ECSDE’s scientific and technical expertise (either in-house or through its close circle of thematic experts and advisors) covers a wide range of research areas, including marine and water pollution, nanotechnologies and endocrine disrupting chemicals, waste, environmental protection and sustainable development, climate change, etc.

MIO-ECSDE works on improving the evidence base for environment policy via citizen science initiatives and/or scientific research activities. Furthermore, it participates in and contributes to the work carried out by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) Good Environmental Status (GES) Technical Subgroup on Marine Litter; the UNEP/MAP Experts Group on the application of the Ecosystem Approach in the Mediterranean and the Correspondence Group on Monitoring, Pollution and Litter (CORMON); the Drin Dialogue Expert Working Groups on the Water Framework Directive implementation, Monitoring and Information exchange, Biodiversity; etc.