The Mediterranean region is nowadays facing significant energy challenges. It is home to an increasing population of over 500 million inhabitants with growing energy demands. According to the Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Énergie (OME), per capita energy demand is estimated to increase by 62% in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries by 2040 (taking 2018 as reference year). The Mediterranean region is also experiencing an intensive industrialization and tourism growth that is also putting pressure on the available energy resources. On top of that, the average rise of temperature by 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels – the lower limit not to be surpassed as agreed through the Paris Agreement – is already being exceeded in the Mediterranean region, according to IPCC’s Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C.
These regional challenges, however, if properly addressed, can become business opportunities that can contribute to a sustainable energy transition. Our region is rich in renewable energy sources, such as wind, sun and water, having therefore the potential to promote the shift towards more sustainable, low‑carbon energy systems. There is also a potential to increase energy efficiency through the development of new technologies allowing energy saving and storage, for instance. Besides, developing gas and power transmission interconnections will lead to the progressive integration of energy markets in the region, which represents an opportunity for countries to better face the challenge of energy security.
Given this context and recognising the importance of addressing the energy challenges in the Mediterranean region to turn them into opportunities, the UfM coordinates the following policy dialogue platforms:
- The UfM Regional Electricity Market Platform (UfM REM Platform)
- The UfM Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Platform (UfM REEE Platform)
- The UfM Gas Platform
The three UfM Energy Platforms were established at the SOM of March 2015, and endorsed by the UfM Ministerial Conference on Energy of December 2016. With their work, they contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal number 7, i. e., to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.
The UfM Energy Platforms are the only existing dialogue fora gathering all Euro-Mediterranean countries as well as key stakeholders, including financial institutions, regional organisations, industrial enterprises, energy experts. The UfM Energy Platforms hold an annual meeting devoted to the enhancement of synergies in the fields of renewable energies and energy efficiency, integration of electricity markets, and gas in the Mediterranean region. Each platform develops its activities following specific Work Programmes that include workshops, reports and studies, experience and knowledge‑sharing, among other activities.
An overview of the three UfM Energy Platforms’ objectives
The UfM REM Platform aims at the progressive integration of energy systems and energy markets in the UfM region and, in particular, at the enhancement of electricity exchanges and interconnections, in order to achieve a secure, affordable and sustainable electricity supply for the benefit of citizens and economies in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The UfM REEE Platform has the aim to promote the progressive deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, in order to foster socio-economic development and a sustainable energy transition, contributing to ensure that all citizens and businesses of the region have access to secure, affordable and reliable modern energy services. It also works to support mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The UfM Secretariat ensures the secretariat of the UfM REM and REEE Platforms, in close coordination with the UfM Co‑Presidency.
The objective of the UfM Gas Platform is to establish a regional structured dialogue allowing the progressive development of a Euro-Mediterranean gas market to promote security, transparency and predictability of both demand and supply in a manner that correctly and fairly balances the interest of producing and consuming countries and provides the basis of the long-term and the secure development of the abundant reserves in the region. The Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Énergie (OME) runs the UfM Gas Platform Secretariat, in close coordination with the UfM Co‑Presidency.