Barcelona, 2-3 October 2019. The Senior Officials of the 43 UfM Member States met today for the third time this year in Barcelona and endorsed three new regional projects on sustainable growth in the Mediterranean area, namely the Interreg MED Green Growth community, the MedFund: Environmental Fund for Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas and LIFE Integrated Project: Optimising the implementation of the 2nd RBMP in the Malta River Basin District.
The meeting of the Senior Officials took place in Barcelona ahead of the annual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the 4th UfM Regional Forum, taking place in Barcelona on 10 October 2019. This event will be co-chaired by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, and Ayman Safadi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Jordan, and hosted by Josep Borrell, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain.
In the margins of the Regional Forum, the UfM will also organise an event to present the main conclusions of the first-ever comprehensive scientific report on the impact of climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean region, developed since 2015 by a network of over 80 scientists from across the Euro-Mediterranean area named MedECC – Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change.
The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was also the occasion to exchange information on activities and initiatives launched by the UfM Secretariat in the last quarter of 2019.
More information on the UfM-labelled projects
The Interreg MED Green Growth community
The Interreg MED Green Growth community gathers of 14 projects promoting a sustainable development in the Northern and Eastern Mediterranean area based on the sound management of the natural resources.
This series of projects aim to promote sustainable growth in the Mediterranean area by fostering innovative concepts and practices and by supporting social integration through an integrated and territorially based cooperation approach, seeking for a stronger transnational cooperation between stakeholders of the quadruple helix (research bodies, businesses, public authorities, civil society) through the implementation of the interventions in green growth.
The 4-year initiative involves partners from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.
The MedFund : Environmental Fund for Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPA)
The MedFund project aims to contribute to the long-term management of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas by strengthening their financial sustainability through the establishment of an environmental fund (or “trust fund”) financing mechanism. It is a unique and innovative financial tool but also a political dialogue tool for the Mediterranean basin countries and stakeholders with a very high potential of evolution to provide multiple services to MPAs such as covering their operating costs.
The objective is to provide a financial sustainability of MPAs and to provide MPA managers with the possibility of longer-term planning tools and financial support, facilitating the integration of the MPA into its territory. It also aims to support approaches involving civil society in general in the planning and management of marine resources and can help reduce poverty and improve well-being in the Mediterranean region insofar as fishing and tourism activities are often the main sources of market profits from MPAs. Thus, for example, by creating new jobs, support women empowerment and increase fish catches.
The founding members of the Environmental Fund are France, Monaco, and Tunisia. Since then, Morocco, Albania and Spain have joined the initiative. The already existing initiative is a 4-year project 100% funded by the promoter and member countries. The priority for Fund assistance is given to MPAs from the South and East shores of the Mediterranean countries and, in the end, the objective is to create an Environmental Fund that will operate throughout the Mediterranean basin.
LIFE Integrated Project: Optimising the implementation of the 2nd RBMP in the Malta River Basin District
The main aim of the LIFE-IP RBMP-MALTA project is to support the implementation of the second River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) through the establishment of an integrated framework for the optimized management of all water resources on the Maltese islands. To achieve this, it will seek to address the key horizontal challenges identified during a gap analysis undertaken as part of the development process for the second RBMP. The challenges will be addressed through the implementation of best practice, demonstration, pilot study, and capacity building actions.
The objectives are the increase of the awareness of the need to conserve and protect water resources and dependent terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems; the facilitation of the uptake of measures to build up the confidence of stakeholders and water users in the solutions proposed; to improve the institutional approach to measure implementation, achieving a high level of institutional and stakeholder dialogue; to reduce uncertainty in water body status assessments through improved knowledge of water-related processes, ecosystems and ecosystem services, as well as on interactions with anthropogenic activity, with a view to inform appropriate ecosystem-based management regimes and increase the trust of stakeholders in the status assessments.
The 8-year project, promoted by The Energy and Water Agency of Malta (EWA), has a total budget of 17 million Euros and involves Malta and the Maltese islands and non-EU UfM member countries for capitalization of activities.