MedCities took part of the 19th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) organized by UNEP MAP, within 50 other members and obervers. The three-day meeting virtually hosted by Slovenia examined a report on sustainable development activities carried out from June 2019 – May 2021, and review progress in the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development. 

Hosted virtually by Slovenia, the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), a region-specific blueprint for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 SDGs that the Contracting Parties adopted in December 2015. In his opening statement, H.E. Andrej Vizjak, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning of Slovenia, invited the MCSD to formulate clear proposals for a green renaissance in the Mediterranean.

During the 2nd day session,members dissused about last findings of the SoED report by Plan Bleu or  the MAR1 by MEdECC. Furthermore, MedCities’ Secretary Genral, Josep Canals, attended the session representing the network of cities and presenting some of the actions MedCities is transferring and working on in the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan.

In this session MedCities was annouced as a full-right member of the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Comission. On that sense, Mr. Canals could expressed some statement to the audience: « From MedCities we want to express the gratitude to be back as a full member and we would like to acknowledge of the processes done: the MedEcc report which made a great impact from its very presentation of the draft back in October 2019 in Barcelona; the SoED that also is a great element to the discussion. We want to also stress the Geneva Environment Nature-Based Solutions initiative in which we have been attending as well as the Guidelines for Sustainable cruise sector and recreational boating where we actively contributed.

From my perspective,this is the decade of action and implementation. And cities are willing to act. We offer to collaborate with other stakeholder to make things happen. As has been also discussed with the European Commission we need to strengthen communication and mainstreaming of all the accumulated knowledge and initiatives like the ones presented today. »

On the 3rd meeting day, members and observers of the MCSD witnessed encouraging signals from across the basin as they reviewed the MSSD Flagship Initiatives . As part of this initiatives, MedCities’ Secretary General Mr. Josep Canals Molina presented the MedUrbanTools website as a sustainable urban development knowledge sharing toolbox: « MedUrbanTools is also yours, and it is designed as an open platform to underpin knowledge-sharing, it features a user-friendly interface offering technical content and multimedia materials based on best available practices, thus promoting urban analyses while inspiring new initiatives« .

« Flicking the green switch »—a metaphor for a decisive change of course towards sustainability—was frequently used during the three days meeting, which featured a roundtable on the sustainable blue economy as an enabler of a post-COVID green renaissance in the Mediterranean. 

The roundtable agreed that the findings of the reports (which had recently been presented to a global audience as part of a similar reflection co-organized by UNEP/MAP and the Geneva Environment Network) warrant a reengineering of socio-economic systems. Participants heard from Plan Bleu, the France-based UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre, that no sector can be singled out as the sole culprit for the triple environmental crisis (climate changebiodiversity loss and pollution) that is unfolding in the Mediterranean, as the MAR1 and SoED reports confirm.

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