The second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative (2015 to 2020) was fully endorsed by the UfM Ministers in charge of environment and climate
Ministers attending the first Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change in Athens on the 13th of May issued a Declaration reiterating their commitment to tackle the growing environmental and climate challenges facing the region. More specifically the Ministers agreed to launch the second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative with the full involvement of the UfM Secretariat and agreed on future strategic directions to reduce pollution and increase resource efficiency in the Mediterranean.
More specifically, Ministers reaffirming the continued relevance of the four Horizon 2020 components and the three sectors targeted (urban waste water, municipal solid waste and industrial emissions). The pollution prevention dimension is to be strengthened and issues such as hazardous waste and marine litter are to be considered.
Ministers also committed to taking firm steps to ensure the full implementation and enforcement of policies supporting the Horizon 2020 Initiative goals, in line with the Ecosystem Approach (ECAP) and the priorities included in the Barcelona Convention National Action Programmes (NAPs), and when required, with the support of the capacity building component.
Data needs will be addressed by applying the principles of Shared Environment Information Systems (SEIS) in line with the commitments under the ECAP Decisions of the Barcelona Convention. Steps to accelerate the necessary reforms to create a favourable and sustainable investment environment and to ensure adequate project preparation and implementation will also be taken. Intensifying the efforts to transfer research results into policy decision-making was called for as well.
Ministers welcomed the launch of the second phase of MeSHIP-PPIF, the EU’s project preparation facility, and invited all relevant actors to continue the collaborative work to develop criteria for sustainable investments prioritisation, building amongst others on the results of the study delivered by the UfM Secretariat, and aligning as appropriate with the NAPs revision process currently undertaken by UNEP/MAP. In fact, Ministers emphasised the need to revamp the H2020 Pollution Reduction sub-group with the full involvement of the UfM Secretariat.
The continuous references to the Barcelona Convention were a reflection of the Ministers call for strengthening the synergies between the Barcelona Convention and the H2020 Initiative.
Ministers also called for the cooperation between the Secretariats of the UfM and the Barcelona Convention through the implementation of their 2013 Memorandum of Understanding.
Finally, Ministers mandated the Horizon 2020 Initiative Steering Committee to develop a work programme for the second phase by December 2014 on the basis of the guidance provided in this declaration and in previous ones. The Steering Committee is to regularly report on its progress to the UfM Senior Officials Meetings.
The declaration also included commitments regarding sustainable consumption and production, fight against climate change, biodiversity, sustainable urban development and better environment and climate governance, including mainstreaming environment and climate into sector policies. Ministers in particular stressed the significant role that stakeholders can play in achieving environmental and climate-related objectives, recognising that steps are necessary to enhance their opportunities and capacity to participate in decision-making processes.
See here the full final Declaration in AR, EN and FR
Read more from the UfM site: Euro-Mediterranean cooperation on environment and climate change: UfM holds Ministerial Meeting in Athens
Read more from the EU Press release: Prioritise climate, environment, agree both sides of the Mediterranean