Barcelona, 13 May 2014. Ministers in charge of environment and climate change from the 43 countries comprising the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) gathered on 13 May 2014 in Athens on the occasion of the first UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change.
The Ministers acknowledged the urgent need to address the impact of climate change on the Mediterranean region and shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns for a green and low emission economy. They highlighted the cross-sectorial nature of environment and climate change challenges and the importance of fostering growth and job creation while ensuring better quality of life and a sustainable future.
As tangible outcomes of the meeting, the Ministers agreed to launch the second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative for the depollution of the Mediterranean Sea, with the full involvement of the UfM Secretariat. They 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.
As regards climate change, 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 group will meet once a year, with the first meeting expected to take place in October 2014.
The Ministers also invited high level experts and officials to meet at least on a biannual basis and in conjunction with other regional meetings collaborating on environment or climate issues. This “UfM Working Group on Environment and Climate Change” will follow up on the adopted Ministerial Declaration and will assess the progress made.
The Ministerial Meeting was co-chaired by Mr Al Shakhshir, the Jordanian Minister of Environment, and Mr Janez Potočnik, the EU Commissioner for Environment. This is the first UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change since the launching of the Union for the Mediterranean.