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Climate change and the Mediterranean

Climate change and the Mediterranean

The information report that will be presented at the next Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions in Alexandria on 18-19 October 2009 has been elaborated in collaboration with the Economic and Social Council of Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestinian authority and civil society representatives from Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.

The aim of the information report is to focus the attention of civil society on climate change in the Mediterranean and on the possible consequences of failure to adopt suitable timely policies without delay to drastically cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while clearly reaffirming the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities.

A fresh opportunity has arisen for a new era of cooperation through the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) which could be the vehicle to develop a major North-South cooperation agreement. Such an agreement should give due recognition to the role of the social partners and of organised civil society, which have major responsibilities in this aspect. It is proposed that within the UfM a Mediterranean climate and sustainability alliance be set up, backed and supported by civil society.

The governance of environmental and sustainable development policies in the Mediterranean presents a practical problem. The situation of permanent crisis prevents these policies from being introduced effectively or in a timely manner: if integrated common policies are not introduced, the risk to the peoples of the whole region greatly increases. As the environment knows no borders, it is in the interests of all countries to preserve our natural resources by taking environmentally-sustainable measures. The future energy supply for the Mediterranean area is also of concern to everyone. Achieving substantial increases in energy saving and efficiency will be the key to attaining significant results.

Mediterranean civil society is committed to supporting and strengthening the different policies to combat climate change, by constantly monitoring the actions of public authorities, and engaging in close cooperation with a view to identifying the best solutions. It ought to be fully involved in the existing or future structures of the Euro-Mediterranean Energy Forum and in the Euromed Solar Plan. Programmes need to be launched to boost the capacity of civil society and exchange information on climate change and renewable energy.