Convened from November 6 to November 18, 2022, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, also known as the City of Peace, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted for the first time a Mediterranean Pavilion. This development reflects a joint initiative led by the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) together with UNEP/MAP and the PRIMA Foundation along with the participation of numerous scientific institutions dealing with the adoption of climate action in the region. The initiative has been co-sponsored by Plan Blue, UNEP/MAP’s Regional Activity Center with expertise in sustainable development, and MedWaves, the UNEP/MAP’s Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production, and the independent network of scientists MedECC (Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change).
Following a summer of massive wildfires and heat waves in the Mediterranean, the Pavilion operates as a hub dealing with crucial environmental challenges that threaten the sustainability process in the Mediterranean Basin. Moreover, it examines the sharing of good practices that have been adopted through multilateralism across the region. In this regard, and within the framework of participatory environmental governance, more than 60 sessions took place providing the opportunity to the regional stakeholders -public and private entities, NGOs, and the scientific and academic community- to bridge their voices during the negotiation process towards the formulation of a joint “Mediterranean” agenda.
The establishment of the Pavilion indicates the strong willingness of the Mediterranean countries to take prompt action, in the context of the international legal order, aiming at a rapid transition towards a climate-resilient and sustainable future. The first-ever Mediterranean Assessment Report on the impact of environmental and climatic change in the Mediterranean region, released in 2019 by the MedECC, a Pavilion’s partner, encouraged this decisive approach. In particular, the report underscored that sea surface warming will continue until the end of the century by 1°C to 4°C, depending on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions while, concurrently, deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea will be affected more than any other ocean around the globe. Moreover, PlanBlue, through its State of the Environment and Development Report, published in December 2020, added that the Mediterranean zone constitutes the planet’s second fastest warming region, as it is warming 20% faster than the global average. Prompted by these alarming scientific research findings, the Mediterranean countries introduced, through the establishment of the Pavilion, a decisive approach in the process of formulating the global climate policy within the complex framework of political dynamics.
Among the highlights of the Mediterranean Pavilion:
- With the support of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Pavilion’s partners presented the Blue Mediterranean Partnership, a funding vehicle that will enhance sustainable blue economy among EU’s south Mediterranean countries by investing 6 billion euros in the 8 next years.
- The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification alongside the European Commission and Spain introduced the International Drought Resilience Alliance. The Alliance will act as a platform in which targeted actions will be launched to combat the devastating effects desertification causes.
- Morocco and four EU member states, namely, France, Germany, Portugal, and Spain signed the Sustainable Electricity Trade Roadmap, which introduces an initiative that encourages the exchange of decarbonized electricity between Morocco and the four EU countries aiming at expanding the regional electricity market integration.
- The Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB-MED), which was launched for the first time at COP22, in Marrakech, was expanded to seven additional Mediterranean countries with a new budget of 460 million euros. In this regard, more than 14 million people will be benefited from the Programme, while, approximately, 1 million tons of CO2 will be avoided in the next 50 years.
The formulation of the first Mediterranean Pavilion emerged as a remarkable development within the framework of the collective, regional endeavours against climate change, representing an area that is often overlooked throughout international climate negotiations. Ultimately, the Pavilion sought to shed light on the immense environmental challenges the Mediterranean is facing while, simultaneously, serving the purpose of adopting a package of ambitious initiatives in pursuit of the region’s transition towards sustainability.
Sources: UNEP, UNEP/MAP, Mediterranean Pavilion, UfM, MedECC
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- Announcing the Mediterranean Pavilion at UNFCCC COP 27, UNEP/MAP, September 13th, 2022, Retrieved from:
https://www.unep.org/unepmap/news/media-advisory/mediterranean-pavilion-unfccc-cop-27 (accessed March 4th, 2023)
- Climate change in the Mediterranean, UNEP/MAP, Retrieved from:
https://www.unep.org/unepmap/resources/factsheets/climate-change (accessed March 4th, 2023)
- The Mediterranean region, a Climate Hotspot in the spotlight, COP 27 to host a first-ever Mediterranean Pavilion Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – 6 to 18 November 2022, Mediterranean Pavilion, Retrieved from:
https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/EN_Media-Advisory_Mediterranean-Pavilion.pdf (accessed March 4th, 2023)
- COP27 Mediterranean Pavilion, Mediterranean Pavilion, Retrieved from:
https://ufmsecretariat.org/mediterraneanpavilion/ (accessed March 4th, 2023)
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- MedECC at COP 27: partner of the first-ever Mediterranean Pavilion, MedEC, Retrieved from:
https://www.medecc.org/medecc-present-at-cop-27-in-the-first-ever-mediterranean-pavilion/ (accessed March 4th, 2023)
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About the author
MEPIELAN Centre is an international research, training and educational centre established by Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos at the Panteion University of Athens in 2008.
Before its establishment as a University Centre, MEPIELAN operated as a successful international research, training and informational programme (2002-2007) under the scientific direction of Professor Evangelos Raftopoulos and the aegis of the Panteion University of Athens, supported by the Mediterranean Action Plan/UNEP and the Greek Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works.
MEPIELAN Centre is an accredited UNEP/MAP PARTNER (since 2013), a Member of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) (since 2016), and a Member of the Steering Committee of the MCSD (since 2019).
On 22 May 2022, MEPIELAN Centre proceeded to the development of MEPIELAN as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) for the more effective and efficient advancement of its Goals and Missions and furtherance of its activities. MEPIELAN Centre as a Non- Profit Civil Organization (INGO) is registered in Greek Law (Hellenic Business Registry, Reg. No. 16477300100) in accordance with Laws 4072/2012 & 4919/2022 as applicable