Learning to measure our carbon and water footprints: H2020 regional workshop in Athens, Greece

on 05 July 2011.

Measuring carbon and water footprints was the theme of the latest Horizon 2020 regional workshop held in Athens (20-21 June 2011). As climate change and water scarcity pressures increase in the region, efforts to improve reporting skills on mitigation and adaptation measures are becoming all the more relevant. With 37 participants from eleven countries, the workshop targeted professionals from governmental authorities and civil society who stand to benefit from the overall understanding of the matter at hand.

The course showcased the existing Mediterranean frameworks and strategies and built the case for reducing carbon and water footprints, through measurements and indicators. As with all H2020 workshops, every effort was made to create an interactive experience for the trainees through role playing and the actual calculation of carbon and water footprints.

Ms Elvana Ramaj, a biodiversity expert and Director of the Environmental Protection Directorate at the Albanian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Water Administration who participated in the workshop, believes it will serve as the starting point for the development of projects and policies that will actually take ecological footprints into account. “Experience of companies in developed countries and best practices can help Mediterranean countries accelerate the process of incorporating these principles in their institutional frameworks”, Ms Ramaj stated. Furthermore she mentioned the importance of such workshops in helping the EU integration process of countries such as Albania.

From the Southern coast of the Mediterranean, Mr Youssef Mejai, Public Service Advisor in the International Cooperation Division of the Tunisian Ministry of Agriculture and Environment acknowledged the importance of the training saying that "Carbon and water footprints have become very important concepts nowadays, allowing us to estimate the environmental behavior of a building, a product, an organization, etc. Tunisia can benefit from the application of such indicators to monitor its carbon and water footprint. I truly believe that Horizon 2020 improves the skills of managers in the region, helping us to protect our beloved sea".

This two-day regional workshop was organized by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production CP/RAC of UNEP/MAP and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), in cooperation with the Greek Government - Ministry for Environment and Climate Change and MIO-ECSDE.