World Environment Day 2015: Addressing environmental challenges in the Euro-Mediterranean region
Barcelona, 5 June 2015 – The date 5 June 2015 marks World Environment Day, an opportunity to raise awareness and take action to improve the current global environmental conditions.
Available data show that the Mediterranean region is particularly exposed to global environmental concerns. 240 million people in the Mediterranean are considered “water poor” or live in water stress areas, due to a lack of adequate access to renewable water. Meanwhile, according to current forecasts, energy consumption in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries could increase by up to 70% in 2030, with energy-related CO2 emissions doubling over the same period.
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) places great emphasis on protecting the environment and water and promoting sustainable production patterns in the region through the promotion of regional dialogue and cooperation, as well as supporting projects and initiatives in this field. In line with the UfM Ministerial Conference on Environment and Climate Change (May 2014), this is being addressed at the UfM in close connection with other major regional challenges, such as climate change, desertification, food security, overpopulation and resilience to extreme weather events.
While contributing to regional efforts to address these challenges, the UfM strives to ensure that existing opportunities for cooperation are seized, in particular for the private sector. At the end of this year, the UfM will hold a Ministerial meeting on “Blue Economy”. The topics to be addressed include marine research, marine litter, maritime governance tools, new tourism concepts, and new technology for maritime transport, ocean energy and offshore wind. This will provide potential for job creation and investment in the region.