The creation of green jobs to reduce sources of pollution in the Mediterranean was the focus of a Horizon 2020 regional workshop which attracted 43 professionals from 13 countries. Currently, the cost of environmental degradation for South-East Mediterranean countries has reached 3-6% of their GDP, constituting the shift towards a Green Economy pivotal, especially when considering the increased pressures from an ever growing population. The workshop, which took place on 3-5 April 2012, was organized by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP CP/RAC) with the support of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) within the framework of the EU funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme.
Two weeks before the leaders of the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) where Green Economy in the context of sustainable development was a central theme, the Horizon H2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme organized a two-day workshop in Rabat (6-7 June 2012) in support of mainstreaming the concept of Green Economy in Morocco.
A Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for Mediterranean Countries was held in Beirut (March 2012)
In the framework of the European Union (EU) funded project “Towards a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in the European Neighbourhood” (ENPI-SEIS project) implemented by the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the follow up on the implementation of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) project on building capacities in environment statistics, indicators and accounts (2007-2010), the EEA, UNSD and UN-ESCWA held a Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for Mediterranean Countries at the UN House in Beirut, Lebanon, 20-22 March 2012.
Building on the output of the ENPI-SEIS country visits and the follow-up from the Horizon 2020 Review, Monitoring and Research Sub-group meeting held on 30-31 March 2011, the ENPI-SEIS Working Group on Environmental Indicators, established in early 2012, held its first meeting in Barcelona, on April 18th, the day before the H2020 Steering Group Meeting. The objective of the Working Group (WG) on Environmental Indicators is, whilst focusing on selected indicators at the heart of the countries’ pilot exercises to advance on SEIS developments, to also identify and develop an articulated list of potential indicators which could provide a consistent baseline of information from across the region to measure and compare progress made under the Horizon 2020 initiative thus supporting the process of regular reporting on the Mediterranean.
Almost all partner countries and numerous stakeholders, participated in the 3rd Meeting of the H2020 Capacity Building Sub-Group There was an overall positive response from the countries and stakeholders with a demonstrated ownership of the capacity building and environmental integration activities and benefits gained. The main merits were identified to be: (a) the strong links with country/stakeholder demands and national priorities; (b) the practical/tangible approach followed in addressing short and medium term needs; (c) flexibility in adapting to emerging needs (programming, accepting additional trainees, etc.) and (d) commitment of countries/H2020 Focal Points and EU Delegations’ involvement.
The MeHSIP-PPIF team had the opportunity to present progress made to date and engage in fruitful exchanges on the investment component during the 5th H2020 Steering Group and the Pollution Reduction Core Group meetings that took place in Barcelona on 18-19 April (2012). Specifically, the MeHSIP-PPIF:
- Reported on the H2020 Pipeline demonstrating a steady increase in the investment needs. Strengthened reporting on the projects that have secured financing and are a part of the H2020 Project List, was highlighted in the discussions.
- Presented progress on ongoing feasibility studies for 4 priority investment projects in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.
- Briefed participants on its cooperation with the other H2020 components: knowledge management (EEA) and capacity building (CB/MEP).
The presence of marine litter in the Mediterranean and other European Seas is becoming an issue of high concern that requires action. Adequate measures are needed to address the pressure of litter in the marine environment both at sea and on land, whereby public awareness and education towards more sustainable lifestyles, as well as coordination at regional level play an important role.
Professionals from ten Mediterranean countries gathered in one of the most attractive locations in Montenegro, Budva, to participate in a regional training course on “GIS theory and applications on Urban Waste Water Management” on 21-23 May, 2012, organized by the EU funded H2020 CB/MEP.