Call for a green deal for the Mediterranean

1/25/20, 11:01 AM -

Barcelona hosts the 10th anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly with global warming seen as a catalyst for deeper cooperation in the Mediterranean.

Solar - like her in Spain - plays a crucial role for a more sustainable development in the Mediterranean.
Solar - like her in Spain - plays a crucial role for a more sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

With the Gloria storm as an unexpected guest, the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) has celebrated its 10th anniversary in the city where it held its first meeting: Barcelona. The Catalan capital welcomed over 100 representatives of local and regional authorities from the three shores of the Mediterranean, with climate change at the top of the agenda. The region is acknowledged to be particularly vulnerable to global warming. 

Develop a Green Deal for the Mediterranean

Karl-Heinz Lambertz, President of the European Committee of the Regions and ARLEM Co-chair, declared: "The European Union has reaffirmed its climate leadership by proposing the Green Deal as a path towards climate neutrality. Climate change knows no borders, which is why we must also work closely with our neighbouring partners so we all accelerate our efforts to adapt and build resilience. We must expand this sustainable growth model and establish a Green Deal specific for the Mediterranean, offering a climate pact that strengthens cooperation and which offers new financial tools to deliver climate action across the region. As ARLEM celebrates its 10th anniversary, sustainable development must become the driver for our Assembly to deepen cooperation for decades to come."

Closer cooperation to tackle climate change

Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al Hoceima (Morocco) and ARLEM Co-chair, said: "In ten years, ARLEM has demonstrated tangible benefits that go beyond reinforcing political dialogue between our cities and regions. The Nicosia initiative, through which we exchange skills and expertise on key areas such as water management, fisheries or public health, are a perfect example of it. As global warming hits our territories and the rise of sea levels threatens our agriculture, we have a shared responsibility to work together to tackle climate change as much as we have the duty to deploy a growth model that provides our youth with new jobs and economic opportunities."

Support local and regional authorities

Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), said: “We are facing a climate emergency across the Mediterranean today. ‎And it is easy to understand that local and regional authorities ‎are at the forefront when addressing ‎the effects of climate change. ‎Cities and regions are the ‎first line of defence. ‎The success of effective measures to ‎mitigate and adapt to the negative ‎effects of climate change depends, to ‎a great extent, on the regulatory ‎measures that they enforce, on the ‎policies that they adopt and the ‎projects that they implement.‎ The UfM stands ready to support, hand in hand with ARLEM, ‎those efforts to help local and ‎regional authorities face this common ‎challenge.‎"

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"The sea is a living witness of the deprived status of our environment. As many as 30,000 bottles end up in the Mediterranean every minute. A sustainable transition is urgent and much needed and the blue economy is an opportunity to achieve it." That was the key message of Vincenzo Bianco, member of the Catania City Council and President of the National Association of Italian Municipalities in the context of the adoption of his report on the Blue economy.

Implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Assembly also adopted a report on 'Euro-Mediterranean integration: The role of regional and local authorities' by Jihad Khair, Mayor of Beit Sahour, Palestine, who declared: "Local and regional authorities have demonstrated to be pivotal in boosting regional integration in the Mediterranean and we must continue our efforts in the same direction. Our common framework for action is the United Nations' 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. They can only be reached with the active involvement of local and regional authorities. 

Two priority areas must drive our cooperation: migration and climate change. Together, we can move ahead in a much better way." (HCN)