The Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) agreed on 10 October on the need to prioritise the actions of the UfM and to particularly focus the work in the coming year on environment and climate change, trade, investment promotion, job creation and economic cooperation, including digital economy and infrastructure connectivity.

Participants in the Regional Forum in Barcelona, which was co-chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, particularly commended the ability of the organisation to create science-policy interfaces to tackle urgent challenges. This year’s edition gathered scientists, policymakers, and key experts to discuss the main conclusions of the first-ever scientific assessment report on the impact of climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean.

Since 2015, a network of more than 80 scientists from across the region (MedECC) has been developing the report with the aim to facilitate more effective policy responses to climate change. Among its main conclusions, the report shows that the Mediterranean basin warms 20% faster than the global average, and that the region is one of the main climate change hotspots in the world, where 250 million people are projected to be considered “water poor” within 20 years. With current policies, temperatures are expected to increase by 2.2ºC (compared to pre-industrial level) by 2040.

“No single nation, no single community, in our region has enough resources to cope with the pace of climate change on its own,” UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel said. “Undeniably, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, our common efforts in the next decade have to focus on facing this urgent issue that goes way beyond climate change and implies reconsidering our approach to the region’s limited resources,” he added.