Representatives of the 42 member states of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) gathered Monday in Cairo at the 2nd UfM Ministerial Conference on Environment and Climate Action under the co-presidency of Jordan and the European Union.
During the meeting, the parties have agreed on a common agenda to strengthen efforts in the Euro-Mediterranean region to urgently tackle the multiple climate and environmental challenges it faces.
The ministerial declaration included strengthening regional cooperation, through the UfM and other relevant regional forums, to improve policy coordination, exchange of knowledge and best practices, conduct implementation procedures, identify possible regional solutions to common challenges, and promote green transformation in the region.
Additionally, the parties agreed to raise awareness and understanding of climate change and environmental degradation through appropriate education programs, to accelerate civic participation as well as behavioral and lifestyle change already initiated by younger generations and increase consumer awareness.
Moreover, the meeting concluded with agreeing on integrating gender and youth considerations and marginalised groups in climate and environment policies, procedures and investments, through capacity building and enhancing the participation of women and youth in making, implementing and following up on environment and climate policies.
The fourth recommendation of the meeting is promoting cooperation and research in areas of common interest on climate action and the environment, promote innovation for the development and transfer of low-GHG technology and strengthen the science-society-policy link for environmental and climate governance.
Furthermore, the UfM parties highlighted the need to take steps to reduce air pollution in the Mediterranean region, formulate policies and implement measures to ensure food security through sustainable food systems. Also,
Increasing resources including financing, capacity building, skills development, technology development and transfer, and innovation, to support the transition towards sustainable economies was also approved as a main recommendation for the conference, in addition to formulating policies to protect, manage and restore biodiversity, and to transfer to a green and circular economy.
In her speech during the conference, Egypt’s Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad, said that raising the level of support in terms of climate finance and technology transfer is an imperative in parallel with climate action measures and increasing ambition to help developing countries meet their commitments, through the developed countries’ commitment to mobilising funding worth $100bn annually.
The minister highlighted the need to intensify joint efforts to reduce pollution of the Mediterranean Sea and work to clean it of waste, especially plastic, preserve its natural resources and support its local communities.
“The climate crisis is existential for all of humanity – it transcends borders and politics. Building a sustainable future for all citizens across the Mediterranean is our shared responsibility. It is time to act and fulfil the commitments we all made under the Paris agreement. Today we have set a bold and ambitious vision for a clean, competitive, resilient and inclusive Mediterranean. I hope our joint ambition is an example for other regions to follow,” the European Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said during his speech.
Secretary-General of UfM Nasser Kamel underlined how the Mediterranean Sea is a fragile ecosystem that suffers from different ills such as biodiversity loss, overfishing, pollution, coastal degradation, and marine litter, among others.
He noted that the alarming effects of climate change exacerbates the fragility of this ecosystem, and the more closely the Euro-Mediterranean community works together, the more funding we will be able to generate and the more effectively we’ll be able to use it.
“UfM has been very active in this regard, firstly by treating marine litter as an environmental and economic problem, and most importantly by mobilising funds targeting key regional operational initiatives to fight climate change,” Kamel said.