Amman, Jordan hosts preparatory meetings for the UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change
A Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change is overdue. The last Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Environment in November 2006 established the Horizon 2020 Initiative for the De-pollution of the Mediterranean and endorsed the timetable for its first phase, while the ministers agreed to periodically review its implementation. Two attempts at holding a ministerial meeting so far have not come to fruition due to external factors. At the same time, climate action is increasing in importance, namely considering the expected serious impacts of a changing climate in the Mediterranean region, as well as climate change international scene.
The Mid-term review of the Horizon 2020 Initiative will feed into the UfM Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change
The year 2013 marks the mid-way point of the Horizon 2020 Initiative. Under the Horizon 2020 components and projects but also under the EU, UfM and UNEP/MAP frameworks, a number of assessments, studies and reports (see more details below) are underway which will feed into an overall Mid-term Review of the Horizon2020 Initiative. Their first results were presented at the 6th Steering Group Meeting of the H2020 Initiative (19-20 November 2013) and will be further elaborated in the Amman meetings described above. A synthesis report will facilitate the process by taking stock of progress made during the 2007-2013 phase of the Initiative and making recommendations for its next phase. The final recommendations of the Mid-term Review of the H2020 Initiative are expected to be a background document for the UfM Environment and Climate Change Ministerial in May 2014 and provide the basis for the launch of the second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative (2014-2020).
Regarding the implementation of projects to prevent the Mediterranean Sea against pollution, the Union for the Mediterranean has drafted in 2013 a clear and updated picture of the investment portfolio in Jordan and the 21 countries bordering the Sea, based on the UNEP/MAP depollution Strategic Action Plan (SAP 2003) and National Action Plans – NAPs (2005).
Following the completion of the feasibility studies for the four priority pollution reduction projects in 2013, MeHSIP-PPIF’s focus turned to facilitating the final steps to financing these projects. MeHSIP-PPIF continued working closely with Promoters and the EIB to facilitate the process of closing the financing. Two out of the four investment projects (Lake Bizerte in Tunisia and Kafr El Sheikh in Egypt) have been approved for financing by the EIB and are in the process of securing funding from a co-financier. The project in Lebanon (Al Ghadir) is also attracting strong interest from financing institutions and should be able to move forward. For Jordan, despite the economic situation in the country not allowing the project to proceed further at the moment, the feasibility study prepared by MeHSIP-PPIF has provided a solid basis once the discussions between IFIs/donors and the Government will resume. Finally, three of the investment projects have secured grant support from the Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF).
At the “Pollution Reduction Core Group” meeting held in Barcelona on the 18th April 2012, it was agreed that factual knowledge of the status of the depollution investment projects that have already secured financing would be of great value to the EC, IFIs/Donors, UNEP/MAP, UfM and other organisations steering the Horizon 2020 process. This “validation” would allow for a more holistic overview of executed, ongoing and planned pollution reduction projects in the south and east Mediterranean region and help evaluate the main elements impeding or supporting a successful project preparation and implementation towards eliminating UNEP/MAP identified “hot spots” and therefore reducing pollution into the Mediterranean Sea.
Following the in-country missions that took place as part of the validation exercise described above, MeHSIP-PPIF was also able to update the Horizon 2020 Project List and Horizon 2020 Pipeline. 26 new projects were added to the Horizon 2020 Project List originating from most of the partner countries. Currently, the Horizon 2020 Project List includes 113 projects with an estimated value of 7,75 bn EUR.
Good results of the Horizon 2020 Capacity Building component are reported by the Mid-term assessment of the Mediterranean Environment Programme
The Mid-Term Evaluation of the EU funded H2020 Capacity Building/ Mediterranean Environment Programme (ENPI/2009/220-191) undertaken by an external evaluator (IBF International Consulting) in order to assess the results, impact and outcomes of the service contract led by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, aiming at conducting a comprehensive training programme for beneficiaries from the ENP South countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya since 2012, Morocco, Palestine, Syria until 2011, and Tunisia), Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro) and Turkey. The programme covers the Southern Mediterranean countries between 2010 and 2014 and the Western Balkans and Turkey from 2010 to 2012. The assignment started on 01 April 2013 and continued until September 2013. The final report (http://www.h2020.net/en/resources/h2020-mid-term-review-documents.html) summarises the results of the evaluation. The project was found to have delivered good results according to all evaluation criteria. Relevance was excellent, all other aspects good.
The 4th Meeting of the Horizon 2020 Capacity Building Sub-Group took place in Brussels, 19 November 2013. The main aim was to report and evaluate the progress of the H2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme (CB/MEP), which is the EU funded project supporting the implementation of the H2020 capacity building component. The Mid-Term Evaluation undertaken by an external evaluator (see above) was also discussed by the sub group.