Lake Bizerte is a major hot spot of Tunisia characterized by major industrial pollution and pressures from many other activities (agriculture, urban, transport, etc.). The Horizon 2020 Initiative, through the European Investment Bank (EIB), will support an important investment in the region for the abatement of pollution deriving mostly from industrial activities, on the basis of the preparatory work carried out by the Mediterranean Hot Spot Investment Programme Project Preparation and Implementation Facility (MeHSIP-PPIF) under the supervision of the Tunisian Ministry of Environment. The project will also be the first to be ‘labeled’ as a Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) project.
In the framework of the European Union (EU) funded project “Towards a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in the European Neighbourhood” (ENPI-SEIS project) implemented by the European Environment Agency (EEA), and the follow up on the implementation of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) project on building capacities in environment statistics, indicators and accounts (2007-2010), the EEA, UNSD and UN-ESCWA held a Workshop on Water Accounts and Statistics for Mediterranean Countries at the UN House in Beirut, Lebanon, 20-22 March 2012.
Nineteen trainees mainly from local and national authorities of the whole of Morocco gathered in Rabat at the end of May (29-31 May 2012) to take part in a Horizon 2020 national workshop on Integrated Solid Waste Management. The improvement of the decision making process at the local and national level through the adoption of an integrated approach in solid waste management was the overarching goal of the course.
Building on the output of the ENPI-SEIS country visits and the follow-up from the Horizon 2020 Review, Monitoring and Research Sub-group meeting held on 30-31 March 2011, the ENPI-SEIS Working Group on Environmental Indicators, established in early 2012, held its first meeting in Barcelona, on April 18th, the day before the H2020 Steering Group Meeting. The objective of the Working Group (WG) on Environmental Indicators is, whilst focusing on selected indicators at the heart of the countries’ pilot exercises to advance on SEIS developments, to also identify and develop an articulated list of potential indicators which could provide a consistent baseline of information from across the region to measure and compare progress made under the Horizon 2020 initiative thus supporting the process of regular reporting on the Mediterranean.
The creation of green jobs to reduce sources of pollution in the Mediterranean was the focus of a Horizon 2020 regional workshop which attracted 43 professionals from 13 countries. Currently, the cost of environmental degradation for South-East Mediterranean countries has reached 3-6% of their GDP, constituting the shift towards a Green Economy pivotal, especially when considering the increased pressures from an ever growing population. The workshop, which took place on 3-5 April 2012, was organized by the Regional Activity Centre for Cleaner Production of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP CP/RAC) with the support of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE) within the framework of the EU funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme.
Almost all partner countries and numerous stakeholders, participated in the 3rd Meeting of the H2020 Capacity Building Sub-Group There was an overall positive response from the countries and stakeholders with a demonstrated ownership of the capacity building and environmental integration activities and benefits gained. The main merits were identified to be: (a) the strong links with country/stakeholder demands and national priorities; (b) the practical/tangible approach followed in addressing short and medium term needs; (c) flexibility in adapting to emerging needs (programming, accepting additional trainees, etc.) and (d) commitment of countries/H2020 Focal Points and EU Delegations’ involvement.
Two weeks before the leaders of the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) where Green Economy in the context of sustainable development was a central theme, the Horizon H2020 Capacity Building/Mediterranean Environment Programme organized a two-day workshop in Rabat (6-7 June 2012) in support of mainstreaming the concept of Green Economy in Morocco.
The MeHSIP-PPIF team had the opportunity to present progress made to date and engage in fruitful exchanges on the investment component during the 5th H2020 Steering Group and the Pollution Reduction Core Group meetings that took place in Barcelona on 18-19 April (2012). Specifically, the MeHSIP-PPIF: Reported on the H2020 Pipeline demonstrating a steady increase in the investment needs. Strengthened reporting on the projects that have secured financing and are a part of the H2020 Project List, was highlighted in the discussions. Presented progress on ongoing feasibility studies for 4 priority investment projects in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia. Briefed participants on its cooperation with the other H2020 components: knowledge management (EEA) and capacity building (CB/MEP).