More than 40 representatives of Ministries of Education, Ministries of Environment, regional and international organizations and NGOs from 14 Mediterranean countries met in Zagreb, Croatia on 17-18 June to work on the final draft of the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The Mediterranean Strategy on ESD is expected to be adopted at Ministerial level in October 2013 in Monaco. The meeting, entitled ‘Strengthening Education for Sustainable Development policies in the Mediterranean’ was organized within the framework of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme in cooperation with the Croatian Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) and the Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability (MEdIES).
The University of Trieste hosted two sub-regional training workshops in April and May this year on improving capacities to prepare and implement Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR) as a uniform tool for monitoring industrial emissions in all Mediterranean countries. It is an important step to eventually reducing pollution from land-based sources in the region. Jointly organized by the EU funded Horizon 2020 CB/MEP, the Marine Pollution Assessment and Control programme of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Shared Environmental Information System (ENP South), the workshops targeted country experts who will be in charge of national PRTR programmes.
Linking economic growth, environmental protection, business innovation and job creation was the objective of the latest national Horizon202 workshop held in Egypt within the framework of the EU funded Horizon 2020 CB/MEP. The workshop was launched with the address of the Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Khaled Fahmy, delivered by the Under Secretary, Dr. Salah Al Sharif. The importance of enhancing the skills of Egyptians towards the reduction of pollution in the Mediterranean basin and the essential contribution to this end of Horizon 2020 was underlined. Dr. Mostafa Kamal Tolba, former Executive Director of UNEP and leading international environmental expert, stressed the relation between an educated workforce and the effective protection of natural resources while recognizing the need to raise environmental awareness in Egypt through regional initiatives and programmes such as Horizon 2020.
More than 70 participants from all over Jordan gathered in Amman on 28-30 April 2013 to attend an EU funded Horizon 2020 workshop on “Developing a Green Economy in Jordan: Focus on Resource and Energy Efficiency”. The workshop was held at a critical moment for Jordan as the country is in the process of drafting a national action plan for its transition towards a Green Economy. The Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Ahmad Qatarneh, in his address stated that “To reap the benefits of a transition to a Green Economy, Jordan needs to follow an integrated and coordinated approach that involves all sections of the government, the private sector and civil society”. Overall the training workshop recognised that although the political will is in place there is still need to raise awareness among decision makers, entrepreneurs, financial institutions and the private sector on the unique opportunities that will emerge as a result.
The protection of rivers, lakes and the sea from industrial effluent and wastewater was the main objective of a two-day national workshop held in Tel Aviv on 29-30 May 2013 within the framework of the Horizon 2020 Capacity Building / Mediterranean Environment Programme. Participants, 38 in number, came from various ministries, the private sector, trade associations and NGOs to explore existing European regulations as well as a plethora of successful case studies from the Mediterranean region.
Integrating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across all functions of Universities was the focus of the national training held in Morocco on 23-24 April 2013 within the framework of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme. The training contributed directly to the implementation of the principles of the Mediterranean Strategy on ESD, which is currently in the pipeline and expected to be adopted at a Ministerial Meeting in October 2013. The President of the Mohamed V Souissi University, Prof. Radouane Mrabet stated “I had attended the Horizon 2020 regional workshop on revisiting university curricula in 2010 in Athens, which was an eye-opening experience for me. Today I am truly delighted to be hosting such a workshop in Morocco, as I believe our universities still have a long way to go to achieve sustainability. This workshop is a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and exchange information on experiences and best practices from the region and beyond”.
Coastal and maritime tourism has been identified as one of the five Blue Growth priority areas that could deliver sustainable growth and jobs and contribute to the emergence of European and Mediterranean countries from the economic crisis. Addressing the need for boosting ‘Smart socio-economic growth' in the region and developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation, a three-day intensive training was organized in Valletta, Malta, from 20-22 May 2013 within the frameworks of ENPI Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme and the European Maritime Day.
In Palestine, the second phase of the EU funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Program (CB/MEP) was launched with a national training which contributed to improved data collection in municipal solid waste management systems taking into account issues such as cost, cost recovery and financing. The Minister of Environment Affairs Dr. Yousef Abu Safieh honored the training with his presence, which took place in Ramallah on 9-11 April 2013. More effective indicators are foreseen to be applied in the future by the different Joint Services Councils (JSC).