Reporting progress and proposing follow-up for de-polluting the Mediterranean by 2020

on 02 May 2012.

The Steering Committee of the Horizon 2020 Initiative to de-pollute the Mediterranean by 2020 met in Barcelona on 19 April 2012 for its 5th meeting since 2008, bringing together the majority of the participating country representatives and the 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 Investment Bank, regional associations of local authorities, NGOs, and others.

The focus of the meeting was on progress achieved in the Horizon 2020 components, namely investments for pollution reduction; monitoring, review and research; and capacity building, financed mainly by ENPI funded projects. Replication and environmental mainstreaming were also discussed on the basis of the collaborative efforts between three ongoing programmes Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (MedPartnership), Sustainable Water Integrated Management Support Mechanism (SWIM-SM) and H2020 CB/MEP. The state of play with the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) was outlined as well as perspectives for the future. In addition, the progress and evaluation of UNEP/MAP’s National Action Plans to address land-based pollution were presented.

Marta Subirá, Director General for Environmental Policy of the Generalitat de Catalunya welcomed the participants while Rafiq Husseini of the UfM Secretariat said about H2020, which is a UfM flagship initiative, “On a regular basis during the implementation of an initiative such as the H2020, we should always ask ourselves - and attempt to answer- four fundamental questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to be next year? How do we get there? And, how do we know that we have gotten there?”

Nick Hanley, Head of the International Relations and Enlargement Unit in DGENV of the European Commission, pointed out that “By addressing concrete actions with our projects we've managed to continue cooperation under Horizon 2020 throughout this period of sweeping change”.

The day before the Steering Group, two other H2020 meetings took place. The third meeting of the H2020 Capacity Building Sub-Group assessed the implementation of its work programme so far and took decisions for the next steps to be taken till 2014. An expert group also met in the framework of the ENPI Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in order to formulate a set of indicators for monitoring de-pollution progress.

Find here the final documents of the meetings.

Note to the editor: The Steering Committee is responsible for the implementation of the Horizon 2020 Initiative in which all EuroMediterranean countries jointly work towards de-polluting the Mediterranean by the year 2020. The focus of the Initiative is tackling municipal solid waste, urban waste water and industrial pollution that account for around 80% of the overall pollution of the Mediterranean Sea.

Horizon 2020 builds on existing institutions and results, filling gaps where it could bring added value. It operates within the existing and developing policy instruments, and supports the implementation of the commitments undertaken in the framework of the ENP as well as other regional agreements e.g. of the Barcelona Convention and UNEP’s Mediterranean Action Plan, while cooperating, coordinating and synergising with all relevant (EU and other) programmes such as the Union for the Mediterranean.