World Environment Day 2022: tackling the transition to sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean
5 June 2022. The World Environment Day 2022 calls for transformative changes in policies, including ensuring that maritime activities are sustainable, innovative and job-creation oriented. In order to tackle blue economy challenges, the UfM and the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG Mare) are organising the UfM Blue Finance Conference on 22 June in Barcelona, bringing together financial institutions, banks, private investors as well as key representatives of the UfM countries.
“The ocean economy is expected to double to $3 trillion by 2030, employing 40 million people, as compared to 2010” highlights the UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel. “Opportunities for sustainable innovations are evident for green shipping, sustainable aquaculture and fisheries, as well as maritime and coastal tourism in the region – all activities that have provided jobs in the past and can still play a pivotal role in the future of the region.”
The Mediterranean Basin is also impacted on land by change in climate, population increase, pollution and unsustainable land use. The UfM Environment Agenda, also called 2030 GreenerMed Agenda, provides a regional structured political framework and operational convergence to accelerate the transition towards a green, circular and inclusive economy.
Zoom on UfM projects
It is estimated that 40% of the Mediterranean’s forests are currently being degraded to some extent, due to increasing forest fires, overgrazing and destruction for agriculture and urban development. The project ‘Scaling up forest and landscape restoration’, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aims to restore biodiversity and promote joint mitigation and adaptation approaches through regional platforms, technical assistance and pilot activities applying appropriate forest and landscape restoration.
The project ´Coastal wetlands’, in partnership with MedWet, seeks to restore and reduce threats to coastal ecosystems, encourage sustainable water use, and create new socioeconomic opportunities while using wetlands as nature-based solutions to mitigate climate impacts in the region.
UfM Policy Framework and workings groups
The UfM Member States adopted an ambitious 2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Action in October 2021, calling for a specific, structured coordination and monitoring mechanism among initiatives, programs and projects run at regional level to create political and operational convergence and maximize results, through the UfM Agenda 2030 towards a Greener Mediterranean and the UfM Climate Action Road Map.
In a more operational level, the 3rd UfM Working Group on ENV and CC, approved, among others, the GreenerMed Theory of Change and the GreenerMed Baseline Assessment Report for the year 2020, based on 84 GreenerMed supporting projects for the three GreenerMed Axes and the SDGs up to 2030.