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Green transition in the Mediterranean: From decisions to actions

The Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE), its member NGOs —including eco-union—, and other MAP Partners delivered a joint statement at the 23rd Meeting (COP23) of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, which took place on 5-8 December 2023 in Portorož (Slovenia). The document highlights their commitment to the green transition in the Mediterranean.

The statement urges countries to commit to principles such as access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters, as outlined in the Aarhus Convention. They introduce the Mediterranean Accession Agenda to the Aarhus Convention (MAAAC) as a tool supported by the EU WES project, encouraging open access for partners and observers to reporting documents.

Education for Sustainable Development is recognized as vital, and the organizations encourage the utilization of the Action Plan towards 2030 of the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development. They stress the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of education and awareness raising in addressing contemporary challenges.

The commitment to conserving and managing at least 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030 aligns with the CBD’s Target 3. The organizations call for ambitious restoration targets and actions to achieve them. The Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) nexus approach is welcomed for integrated water resource management, connected to the newly approved decision on agriculture and stormwater, with a Flagship Initiative expected to be adopted in early 2025.

The commitment to maritime decarbonization and emissions control is acknowledged, with a specific project, METAVASEA, outlined to contribute to this goal. The organizations express the hope for a carefully revised Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016-2025, supported by all Parties.

MIO-ECSDE and its members express their readiness to collaborate in the upcoming biennium, involving key stakeholders such as educators, parliamentarians, journalists, universities, and national initiatives. The organizations highlight their ongoing initiatives and projects, demonstrating their commitment to addressing environmental challenges in the Mediterranean region.

Despite acknowledging major difficulties, the statement ends on an optimistic note, inviting all stakeholders to look forward to the 50th anniversary of the Barcelona Convention with high expectations.