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Horizon 2020: EU and Mediterranean countries and stakeholders meet to take stock of progress and propose follow-up for abating pollution in the Mediterranean by 2020

on 25 November 2013.

Municipal solid waste, urban waste water and industrial emissions are still heavily impacting the Mediterranean marine environment. Despite all the efforts made, a lot remains to be done to secure finance for pollution reduction investments and make them sustainable, to increase the capacity of governments to devise and enforce conducive regulatory and policy frameworks and to monitor the state of the environment.

These are the lessons that emerged from discussions gathering Mediterranean countries, stakeholders and the EU at the Horizon 2020 steering group meeting in Brussels (Brussels, 19-20 November 2013).

Mid-way through the implementation of the Road Map endorsed by EuroMediterranean Ministers of Environment in 2006, the Horizon 2020 Initiative to reduce the main sources of pollution in the Mediterranean by the year 2020 is taking stock of achievements until now and defining the way forward through concrete recommendations for its 2014-2020 Phase.

“There is no room for complacency” said Michael Köhler, Director for EU Neighbourhood Policy, DG DEVCO, at the 6th meeting of the Horizon 2020 Initiative’s steering group meeting “as the environmental challenges in the Mediterranean are increasing”. While he confirmed that the environment will remain part of the EU future portfolio of regional projects in the Mediterranean region, he insisted that “the Horizon 2020 review process needs to be based on factual information and evidence based decisions while involving all EuroMed partners”.

Nicholas Hanley, Head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit in DGENV of the European Commission stressed how important it is for the Mid-Term review to convey very clear messages to the Union for Mediterranean Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change that will take place in the spring of 2014. He urged all Mediterranean countries and other stakeholders to carefully identify real needs and priorities for the 2014-2020 Phase.

The steering group meeting was attended by twenty two country representatives and most key regional environmental actors such as the European Commission, the Union for the Mediterranean Secretariat, the Mediterranean Action Plan of UNEP and its Regional Activity Centers, the European Environment Agency, the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency (AfD), other regional projects of relevance, regional associations of local authorities, NGOs and others.

Just before the steering group met, the Capacity Building Sub-Group of the Horizon 2020 Initiative met to assess the progress of the ENPI project supporting the implementation of the H2020 capacity building component (Mediterranean Environment Programme) as well as the proposed plan of activities until the project comes to an end in October 2014. The countries themselves also presented the impacts of the project at national level and taking into consideration also the results of an independent Mid-Term Evaluation, they provided their suggestions on the Capacity Building Work Programme for the next phase of Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) and the preparations for the UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change.

Find the final documents of the meetings at http://www.h2020.net/en/resources/meeting-documents/viewcategory/270.html.