No country in the Mediterranean region meets two key minimum conditions for global sustainable development: living within the planet’s natural resource budget and satisfactory well-being for its residents, according to a new brief to be launched at the SwitchMed Connect conference October 29 by international think tank Global Footprint Network.

Global Footprint Network monitors the first condition by tracking humanity’s demand for renewable resources and ecological services (Ecological Footprint) against the planet’s ability to provide for this demand (biocapacity). The United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI) tracks human well-being nation by nation.

Global Footprint Network’s brief—titled How can Mediterranean societies thrive in an era of decreasing resources?—shows that the overall Mediterranean region is using approximately 2.5 times more renewable resources than its ecosystems can provide. Meanwhile, the majority of Mediterranean countries have improved the quality of life for their residents in recent years, as measured by HDI.

The brief, produced with the support of the MAVA Foundation and the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), highlights increasingly protein-intensive diets among the contributors to the region’s growing Ecological Footprint. Based on a Footprint analysis of 12 cities, the brief also identifies housing and transportation in cities as major opportunities to build a more sustainable Mediterranean region.

“On the heels of the United Nations approving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals last month, it is encouraging to see that human development for all Mediterranean countries has been climbing,” said Alessandro Galli, Mediterranean region director of Global Footprint Network. “However, truly fulfilling the vision of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development—ensuring a high quality of life without degrading the environment—requires taking full account of physical limits at all levels of decision-making.”

“The good news is that by targeting food, transportation and housing, the region has numerous opportunities to manage its resources more sustainably and become more economically resilient,” Galli added.

Galli will co-host a SwitchMed Connect session on sustainable food at 10:30 a.m. CET on October 29. The Mediterranean brief is available online in English, French and Arabic.

Additional Resources:

For more information about Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean Initiative, visit:

Read the Mediterranean brief in English, French or Arabic.

To calculate your own personal Ecological Footprint, and learn what you can do to reduce it, go to:

To download Global Footprint Network’s Free Public Data Package (Ecological Footprint Data on 182 countries), visit:

About Global Footprint Network:

Global Footprint Network is an international think tank working to drive informed, sustainable policy decisions in a world of limited resources. Together with its partners, Global Footprint Network coordinates research, develops methodological standards, and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

Media Contacts:

Alessandro Galli (Italian, English)
Mediterranean Region Director
Global Footprint Network
+39 346 676 0884 (CEST = GMT+2h)

Ingrid Heinrich (English, Italian, German)
Program Associate
Global Footprint Network
+41 22 797 41 08 (CEST = GMT+2h)