6 October 2023, Barcelona. The Mediterranean region is currently grappling with the challenge of over 80 million hectares of degraded land. Moreover, more than 400,000 hectares of forests are lost to wildfires each year, placing at least 16 animal and plant species in Mediterranean forests at the brink of extinction due to environmental threats, including climate change. Also, land abandonment rates in the Mediterranean have surged, reaching as high as 30%. This alarming trend not only jeopardizes our cultural landscapes but also threatens the invaluable services they provide.
From 2nd- 6th October, the Young Leadership Programme Mediterranean 2023 (YLPMED 2023) took place Barcelona, organized by the European Forest Institute in partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean and dedicated to address the pressing challenges and opportunities associated with land abandonment and forests in the Mediterranean region. The program aimed to equip participants with the scientific knowledge and essential soft skills needed to become effective and influential leaders to explore the opportunities for sustainable entrepreneurship, jobs and biodiversity conservation exchanging good practices. The event is aligned with UfM 2030 GreenerMed agenda, seeking to promote a more sustainable and resilient Mediterranean.
YLPMED 2023 welcomed participants from different Mediterranean countries, including Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, striving to develop innovative solutions that transcend borders. The event was a capacity building and experience sharing event and it also provided a platform to engage in meaningful dialogue, innovative thinking, and collaborative problem-solving when working on land abandonment and its profound impact on Mediterranean cultural landscapes.
The event was opened by Michele Bozzano, Head of the European Forest Institute Mediterranean Facility; Enric Vadell Guiral, Subdirector General of Forests, Directorate General of Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Management, Generalitat of Catalunya; Armela Dino, Science Policy Analyst, Unit of Internationalisation of Science and Innovation, Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain; Elsa Enríquez Alcalde, Deputy Director General for Forest Policy and Fight Against Desertification, Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge of Spain and Almotaz Abadi, UfM Deputy Secretary General for Water, Environment and Blue Economy.
Commitment to the 2030 GreenerMed Agenda
YLMED 2023 is deeply rooted in the 2030 GreenerMed agenda, adopted with the 2nd Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Action in Cairo on October 4, 2021. The three thematic areas of the GreenerMed agenda are closely intertwined and demand simultaneous attention. Furthermore, youth engagement is a cross-cutting theme of high regional priority within this agenda.