In the framework of the EU Green Diplomacy Week of the College of Europe, the association invited MedCities Secretary General, Josep Canals, to a panel discussion to give MedCities’ view about EU Diplomacy impact on the Mediterranean Ecosystems, and concretely he talked about the experience in the Mediterranean Pavilion during the COP27 and some case studies of specific biodiversity protection projects in the Mediterranean in which MedCities is involved, such as Mission 4 Nature (Interreg EURO Med), the former Mediterranean Biodiversity Protection Community, InCircle, Bluefasma -already finished-, or others as ENSERES (ENI CBC MED).

Large-scale fires are burning around the Mediterranean and temperature records are being broken every day. There has been a 60% decline in global wildlife populations. Mediterranean flora and fauna are subject to specific risks. “There is a difference with the Atlantic Ocean: fish can migrate northwards, whereas the Mediterranean is a dead end with the Greek, Italian or French coasts. In a global warming scenario of 1.5°C, 10% of fish species on the Mediterranean coast would have difficulty reproducing, with this figure rising to 60% in a +4°C future.”

In recent years, Europe’s climate has warmed more rapidly than globally, and at an even faster rate around the Mediterranean in summer. Due to development, agricultural abstraction and pollution, wetland degradation is now widespread across the Mediterranean: Two-thirds of the region’s wetland areas have been drained over the last century, and today, 36 percent of wetland-dependent species are threatened with extinction. Rising sea levels are also threatening certain cities, particularly in the Mediterranean. Venice, Dubrovnik and Marseille, which are very close to the sea, are threatened by coastal erosion. 

In fact, despite the vital goods and services they could provide, Mediterranean ecosystems are among the most vulnerable in the world.

As a context for the debate:

A Politico article exposed that during the 59th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention. A draft resolution on the protection, management and restoration of wetlands, focusing on the role of those in the Mediterranean as a model for nature-based solutions that can be replicated around the world has been submitted by Spain. 

At COP15 in Montreal, 196 countries under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed a global biodiversity framework committing the world to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade, reform $500bn of environmentally damaging subsidies, and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems. The agreement respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and recognising the contributions of indigenous and traditional territories towards the target’s tally. Countries must update national biodiversity strategies and action plans to align them with the global goal of reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. At the CBD COP 15, there was an open space set up called the Mediterranean Corner. Th​​e Mediterranean Corner brings together several Mediterranean organizations.

COP27 on Climate hosts a first-ever Mediterranean pavilion outlining risks and potential solutions for the region. Mediterranean Pavilion is a coalition of partners: the Union for the Mediterranean, the PRIMA Foundation, and UNEP–MAP, along with a group of relevant organizations and a scientific committees,oled by the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and environmental Change (MedECC) network, which gathers 600 scientists

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