Mediterranean Civil Society Forum in the run up to the 2015 Paris Conference

BACKGROUND TO MEDCOP21

France will host the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015 (COP21/CMP11). It is a crucial deadline as it must result in a new international climate agreement to keep global warming below 2°C. In this context, together with the presence and support of the President of the Republic, the Provence-Alpes Côte d'Azur Region will host a meeting of Mediterranean stakeholders at the Villa Méditerranée on 4 and 5 June 2015. The meeting highlights the joint commitment of these stakeholders in adapting to and combatting climate change. It will also showcase the contribution of governments, local authorities, associations, enterprise and networks that are serving as catalysts for sustainable development.

With the goal of helping to build a genuine Positive Mediterranean Agenda, this event also aims to look beyond the constraints and seize the opportunities that combatting climate change offers. It also seeks to make concrete joint proposals for a “Mediterranean Scope of Projects”.

MEDCOP21's first real task will be to initiate and schedule a meeting dedicated to Mediterranean civil society prior to each United Nations Conference of the Parties. It will also help consolidate current global efforts to combat climate change and position this as a key factor in Mediterranean integration.

A COMMON THEME

Until recently, many countries contending with increasingly extreme weather events and health-related risks have been reluctant to pursue climate change policies. Now, they are showing signs of openness towards it. The scientific community's projections are no longer contested and are forging global awareness which calls for concerted action and converging interests to contend with a challenge that threatens us all.

Apart from these binding and differentiated commitments which will no doubt mark the success of COP21, this global challenge also lends itself to an alternative development model. This model must be able to unite developing countries (for which the economic and financial crisis has highlighted the interests of green growth) and rapidly expanding or emerging economies whose response to the legitimate needs of their populations can only be satisfied by pathways to sustainable development. In this context, the Mediterranean is a special case.

Firstly, the Mediterranean is a focal point for major challenges in terms of the survival of vulnerable regions. It is a climate change hotspot with a rise in average annual temperature from 2.2 to 5.1°C. This will have an inevitable and significant effect on both natural resources (changes to the rich but fragile Mediterranean biodiversity, depleted aquifers, soil erosion, loss of coastal land, etc.) and on human activities affecting large sectors of the Mediterranean economy such as farming, tourism, industry and energy production.

But the Mediterranean is also a space where complementarities of a common destiny materialise. All kinds of initiatives are propagated there and enable everyone involved to make a positive and tangible contribution to tackling climate change and adapting to new constraints. Active diplomacy is embedded in this action which is a real advantage for all stakeholders on both the North and South coasts of the Mediterranean and for building a “Mediterranean Scope of Projects” too.

So, far from being a constraint, mitigating and adapting to climate change can also be a lever for economic, social and technological development as well as cooperation between stakeholders in the Mediterranean. Tackling climate change is an opportunity to create a new economy that is more respectful of the environment and mankind and less harmful in terms of carbon. It is an economy that creates new business, is a source of growth, innovation, jobs and well-being too and prepares our society to adapt to climate change. It represents an opportunity for the regions and the people that live there.

More generally, global warming is the opportunity to come up with new ways of doing things that are more in phase with society. It is the chance to devise new, more responsible methods of production and consumption and greater solidarity between people.

To accompany these inevitable changes and devise and foster conditions for sustainable development, during this 2-day conference Mediterranean stakeholders are being invited to give thought to potential synergies between existing initiatives or to create and formulate proposals that accelerate the transition from strategic frameworks to tangible outputs.

The common theme of this event, which entails round table discussions and workshops, could be expressed as “accelerated Mediterranean cooperation for an alternative change”.

WHO ARE WE EXPECTING?

MEDCOP21 will host 500 stakeholder representatives from all the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, not just specialists in global warming, but also:

- local authority elected members and officers
- representatives from governments and decentralised State bodies
- the business community
- representatives from professional bodies
- those involved in research and teaching
- the voluntary sector and NGO's, etc...

For the PRELIMINARY PROGRAMME and all other details click here


OT-Med participated to MEDCOP21 forum

Some pictures...

WORKSHOP 5: Focus workshop No. 1 "research / universities / training" production and transmission of knowledge

Young People, Climate Change and Solutions (Solutions Village)
Invitation of the Center for Mediterranean Integration (www.cmimarseille.org)
Click here to download the presentation of Marianela FADER (Postdoctoral fellow)