COP21 : New ideas to support climate change mitigation and adaptation policies in the Mediterranean

Published : Friday 11 December 2015
Kelly ROBIN et Marie HEINLY

In 2009, Stéphane Hallegatte, Samuel Somot and Hypatie Nassopoulos pointed out, relying on IPCC reports, that the Mediterranean basin in one of the globe’s region where models converge the most on the impacts of climate change (IPEMED, 2009). This observation was confirmed by more recent reports identifying the MENA region as a hot spot of climate change because of its vulnerability to the consequences of an average increase in temperatures by 2100 (+2°C at best). The risks induced by climate change will be even higher since the region is already facing a certain number of issues such as water shortage, basic food products shortage, uncontrolled urban sprawl along coasts, increase in energy demand, etc.

Therefore, these countries must fight the experienced and projected effects of climate change following the principles of proximity, complementarity and solidarity with Mediterranean countries. This is why IPEMED is in favour of an innovative, integrated approach, based on a strengthened cooperation between northern, southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean and on shared sectoral solutions.

This is why on 2 December, alongside the COP21, Kelly Robin, Project officer for infrastructures and natural resources at IPEMED, Louis Boisgibault and Jean-Louis Rastoin, IPEMED associate-experts, presented in detail energy and agri-food challenges facing the Mediterranean, as well as IPEMED’s projects.

For a Mediterranean Energy Community in favour of a concerted energy transition in the Mediterranean 

Louis Boisgibault, university lecturer and researcher at Sorbonne Universités, Paris Sorbonne and ENEC, started his presentation (available below) with the following observation: in the North of the Mediterranean, the European Union has settled contrasting objectives in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions. Yet, the proximity, interdependency and complementarity binding both shores led the European Union to contemplate a deeper regional cooperation in terms of energy. In the South and East of the Mediterranean, countries’ commitments for COP21 are ambitious but still rely heavily on international support. The entry into operation of the first phase (160 MW Noor 1) of Ouarzazate solar complex will demonstrate Morocco’s success while highlighting the failure of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, as European companies did not manage to build a joint successful offer. COP21 and especially COP22 in Morocco could strengthen Euro-Mediterranean relations, launch and even operationalise Euro-Mediterranean energy platforms implemented in 2015 and encourage the implementation of a real Mediterranean Energy Community.

Food safety and climate change: the necessity of a Euro-Mediterranean food policy (PACEM) integrating the issue of territorialised agri-food systems (TAS)

In order to support change in the agricultural and agri-food systems, Jean-Louis Rastoin, Professor emeritus at Montpellier SupAgro and UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems, relied on the importance of the agricultural sector in SEMCs and the triple food insecurity facing these countries. To do so, IPEMED’s associate-expert presented the concept of “territorialised agri-food system” that can be defined as “a group of agri-food industries localised in a regional geographic space and coordinated by a territorial governance”. The agro-ecological cluster project of the Medjerda Valley (Tunisia) illustrates TAS benefits and shows how they help Mediterranean territories adapt to climate change. This case study, taken from the article co-redacted with Mahjouba Zaiter and Zied Ben Youssef, highlights the socio-economic, environmental and organisational impacts linked to the rehabilitation of the Sicilo-Sarde ovine breed in the Beja region, the implementation of short production cycles and of a sustainable production model. This is why in its works, IPEMED suggests the implementation of renewed North/South and South/South agricultural partnerships, based on sectors integrated into territorialised agri-food systems and capable of taking up the challenges of sustainable development and especially of climate change.

These two cooperation leads favouring the mitigation and/or adaptation to climate change in the Mediterranean. They  also call for a new Euro-Mediterranean partnership. Relying on the 2012 IPEMED study on carbon constraint in the Mediterranean, Louis Boisgibault also defended the implementation of adapted and ambitious funding mechanisms, given the low impact of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in the Mediterranean and Africa and the needs expressed by SEMCs in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) for the COP21. 

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