Ministers attending the first Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change in Athens on the 13th of May issued a Declaration of their commitment to tackle the growing environmental and climate challenges facing the region.

More specifically the Ministers agreed to launch the second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative with the full involvement of the UfM Secretariat and agreed on future strategic directions to reduce pollution and increase resource efficiency in the Mediterranean.

The UfM Ministerial Meeting also tackled other issues:

  • It is the first time climate change has been discussed at ministerial level within the UfM. The Ministers agreed on the creation of the “UfM Climate Change Expert Group” to advance discussion on climate change priority actions and accelerate the identification and development of concrete projects and initiatives.
  • The Ministers welcomed the adoption of the Ten Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patters (SCP) by the Heads of State in Rio+20, and strongly supported the collaborative efforts of the European Union and the UfM Secretariat on the implementation of the SWITCH-MED and the Med ReSCP projects, respectively.
  • The Mediterranean Strategy on ESD (MSESD) was formally and unanimously endorsed. It was finalised with the support of the Horizon 2020 Initiative which facilitated the final stakeholder consultations on the text. This is the first Regional Strategy after the UNECE one (and is actually its “child” as it is largely based on it). It is the only Strategy of an eco region which touches upon 3 continents and many countries with different socioeconomic & cultural background and it will be presented at the Nagoya Conference as a clear demonstration of cooperation and solidarity in a North – South and East – West interface.

To follow up on the adopted Ministerial Declaration and assess the progress made, a “UfM Working Group on Environment and Climate Change” was established.

See here the final Declaration in AR, EN and FR and the MSESD

Read more from the UfM site: Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on environment and climate change: UfM holds Ministerial Meeting in Athens

Read more from the EU Press release: Prioritise climate, environment, agree both sides of the Mediterranean