The H2020 Initiative

on 12 September 2010.


the-initiativeThe "Horizon 2020 Initiative" aims to de-pollute the Mediterranean by the year 2020 by tackling the sources of pollution that account for around 80% of the overall pollution of the Mediterranean Sea: municipal waste, urban waste water and industrial pollution.

During the 10th Anniversary Summit of the Barcelona Process in 2005, the Euro-Mediterranean Partners committed themselves to increasing efforts to substantially reduce the pollution of the Mediterranean by 2020 in what became known as the "Horizon 2020 Initiative" (H2020). Horizon 2020 was endorsed during the Environment Ministerial Conference held in Cairo in November 2006 and is now one of the key initiatives endorsed by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) at its launch in Paris in 2008. A 2007-2013 Road-Map was then adopted by Ministers in Cairo, which focused on the::

  • Identification of projects to reduce the most significant sources of pollution.
  • Identification of capacity building measures to help neighbouring countries create national environmental administrations that are able to develop and police environmental laws.
  • Use of the EU research budget to develop and share knowledge of environmental issues relevant to the Mediterranean.
  • Develop indicators to monitor the success of Horizon 2020.

2013 marked the halfway point of the Horizon 2020 Initiative.

A number of assessments, studies and reports were conducted to feed into an overall Mid-term Review that was carried out during 2013-2014 to present the achievements and challenges ahead and propose recommendations for the next phase, for policy makers and other H2020 stakeholders.

The mid–term review process culminated in the UfM Ministerial meeting on Environment and Climate Change held in Athens on 13 May 2014 during which Ministers reaffirmed their commitment towards the Horizon 2020 Initiative and gave the H2020 Steering Group the mandate to develop and adopt a work programme for the second phase by December 2014.

Therefore a Work Programme for 2015-2020 was prepared which focuses – under the different H2020 Components - on the following objectives:

  • Strengthening the comprehensiveness, implementation and enforcement of environmental policy and legislation
  • Enhancing environmental mainstreaming at national level into other policies
  • Supporting better environmental governance, in order to achieve good environmental status of the Mediterranean Sea by preventing marine pollution;
  • Identifying, financing and implementing priority H2020 investment projects;
  • Ensuring the availability, quality, accessibility and sustainability of monitoring data and information needed for the knowledge base supporting regular H2020 assessment.
  • Increasing the knowledge-base and develop innovative technologies, including their dissemination and transfer for the prevention and reduction of pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.

In parallel, the process for the update of National Action Plans (NAPs) by UNEP/MAP is on-going and should be finalized by November 2015. This is expected to contribute in the identification and prioritization of specific actions urgently needed that shall be considered during the implementation of the 2015-2020 Work Programme.

To implement and monitor actions three working groups were created to address:

Click here for the official European Commission site on the Horizon 2020 Initiative.

Horizon 2020 builds on existing institutions, initiatives and results, filling gaps where it could bring added value. It operates within the framework of existing and developing policy instruments, and supports the implementation of the commitments undertaken in the framework of the Barcelona Convention: MAP's Strategic Action Programme (SAP) to address pollution from land-based activities (SAP MED); the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), launched by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) established under the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP).

In addition to using EU policy tools (such as TAIEX, Twinning, etc.) it cooperates and tries to coordinate and synergise with all other relevant programmes (e.g. UNEP/MAP GEF SP for the Med LME, etc.).

The Horizon 2020 Steering Group is responsible for the implementation of H2020. Its members participate on an equal footing and include: EU Institutions (EC, EIB, EEA), focal points of EU member states, focal points of ENP Mediterranean partner countries, other stakeholders such as IGOs, IFIs, NGOs, local authorities, private sector etc.

With the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean the geographic scope was expanded to include focal points from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro. To date seven Steering Group meetings have taken place (Marrakesh 2007, Tunis 2008, Dubrovnik 2009, Amman 2011, Barcelona 2012, Brussels 2013 and Barcelona 2014).

The H2020 Steering Group authorised three temporary Technical Sub Groups on: Pollution Reduction and Prevention Investment Group (PRPI); Capacity Building Group (CB) ; Review and Monitoring Group (RM) for achieving H2020 objectives.

During 2009-2014 the European Commission has financed a project under each component, in addition to those from other sources and particularly:

1- The Mediterranean Hot Spots Investment Programm- Project Preparation and Implementation Facility (MeHSIP-PPIF) under PRPI

2- The European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument- Shared Environmental Information System (ENPI-SEIS) under RM

3- the H2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme (H2020 CB/MEP) under CB.In the framework of this project, and in addition to activities aimed at enhancing the capacities to address pollution problems at institutional and society level, , a Hot Spot Investment study for the West Balkans and Turkey (WeB&THSiS), as complementary to the MeHSIP – has been elaborated.

The EU is currently funding the second phase of the

• Mediterranean Hot Spots Investment Programm- Project Preparation and Implementation Facility (MeHSIP-PPIF) under the H2020 PRPI Component
• European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument- Shared Environmental Information System (ENPI-SEIS) under the H2020 RM Component

and it is launching a new phase of the Capacity Building / Mediterranean Environment Programme (CB/MEP) that will start in 2016. In the meanwhile, in order to secure continuity, some capacity building activities will be organised until December 2015 by the Consortium that implements the EU funded Sustainable Water Integrated Management – Support Mechanism project (SWIM-SM) through funds specially earmarked to this purpose by the EC.