Institut de la Méditerranée, FEMISE, the Union for the Mediterranean and Energies2050 combined their efforts to connect a variety of stakeholders during the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) at Katowice (Poland) in order to define a climate research agenda in Mediterranean countries. Academics, sustainable finance actors, the Mediterranean youth as well as policy makers all answered the call.
On December 2018, during the 24th annual conference (COP24) on the fight against climate change at Katowice (Poland), several round tables and workshops were co-organized by FEMISE, Institut de la Méditerranée, the Union for the Mediterranean and Energies2050.
« The main objective was to define a research agenda on climate issues in the Mediterranean countries » explained Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée and General Secretary of FEMISE. To succeed in this endeavor, a panel of climate specialists, economists and political representatives were all brought together.
A need to fill knowledge-gaps and inform decision-makers
Among them, MEDECC, a Marseille-based network of experts is preparing, in collaboration with the Union for the Mediterranean, a report which aims both at identifying gaps in the current research on climate change and its impacts in the Mediterranean and to provide concrete solutions to locals and decision makers in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries.
« One of the ambitions of MEDECC is to identify the gaps of knowledge. For us scientists it is important to be aware when we need to conduct research to improve knowledge also by discussing with decision makers and policy makers, to learn from them where their knowledge-gaps lie » explained the expert Joël Guiot.
There is severe lack of data on environmental issues in South Mediterranean countries. Therefore, Constantin Tsakas highlighted the need for a Mediterranean data observatory that would gather robust data on environmental issues in the South Med region. Meanwhile, more exhaustive country assessments and awareness-raising towards local decision-makers is needed as climate change manifests its impact in the Mediterranean countries through various channels.
« The potential for raising climate awareness is high if one shows how it can affect these countries economically and socially » stressed Constantin Tsakas.
This view was shared by Abeer Elshennawy from the American University in Cairo, member of FEMISE, who highlighted how a Mediterranean multi-stakeholder initiative such as the one at COP24 is a crucial first step towards finding solutions. Following these workshops, « some actors are ready to help us to collect and provide data » stressed Abeer Elshennawy.
Nowadays, there are many policies and local actions on the mediterranean territories « but these actions have to be better coordinated » considered Guillaume Delaboulaye, from ENERGIES 2050, member of FEMISE.
Jorge Borrego, Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Climate, Union for the Mediterranean also added how : « A continuous and coordinated action between stakeholders and experts is the key to optimize the fight against climate change ».
Joël Guiot (MEDECC), Stéphane Pouffary (ENERGIES2050, Jorge Borrego (UfM)
During these workshops, Stéphane Pouffary, General Director of ENERGIES 2050, also presented the 2018 edition of the ENERGIES2050/FEMISE/Institut de la Mediterranee report about climate change matters and the different implications of global warming and climate deregulation in the region.
EUROPACE : A project with replication potential for the South Mediterranean
Karolina Zubel, Energy and Climate policies Analyst at polish think-tank CASE (FEMISE member), presented the EUROPACE project that CASE coordinates and which carries replication potential in the Mediterranean. « The Center for Social & Economic Research is responsable for the European projects development. It’s basically a new platform providing innovative financial instruments for the European household » she said. EuroPACE is based on the idea that building renovation is not just a private business, but a public priority.
Jorge Borrego (UfM), Constantin Tsakas (IM, FEMISE), Karolina Zubel (CASE), Abeer Elshenawy (American University in Cairo)
« This financial model is based on the idea that we can link additional payment for the retrofit that has been paid up front by the private investors » explained Karolina Zubel, who considers this model as applicable to South Mediterranean countries which have property taxes.
Improving homes and commercial buildings is considered a public good, thus, cities can use their power of taxation to collect PACE payments, with property taxes and other local charges. In the case of South Mediterranean countries preliminary research would need to identify countries in which there are well-functioning property taxes. It would also be necessary to analyse whether municipalities would be capable of handling admin./financial tasks, whether inwestors’ interests are secured enough and what the social perception on property taxation is.
The «Euro-Med sub-national governments in the fight against climate change »
Last but not least, a new report*, entitled « Euro-Med sub-national governments in the fight against climate change : a framework for action, an example of the SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region and opportunities for cooperation on a Mediterranean scale », was also a major topic of discussion from day one.
This report offers a photograph of the initiatives and dynamics undertaken by Région SUD (France) in the fight against the effects of climate change and also fits within the framework of the great Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
« The SUD PACA region can serve as an example for other Mediterranean territories in order to capitalize on initiatives and share the experience of this region for a more effective fight » stressed Constantin Tsakas, General Manager of Institut de la Méditerranée, General Secretary of FEMISE, one of the publication editors of the study. Among the recommendations, a platform at the service of territories offering the possibility to capitalize, to exchange, to train, to allow a dialogue with the world of regional statistics and to offer technical assistance could be an interesting initiative to support at the regional level.
Stéphane Pouffary, General Director of ENERGIES 2050 and one of the editors also called for « going beyond the fight against climate change to have a coordinated and positive struggle for well-being and sustainable development ». Networking in Mediterranean would not only provide a better approach to SDGs but would also have a positive impact on national climate commitments, a point shared by all panelists.
Perhaps most importantly, « if government and local authorities act they need people to support them » considered Jorge Borrego, Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Climate, Union for the Mediterranean. « People are key to success. It is essential to talk with people and not only about them ».
« Research, Policy dimension, the Economic dimension… We all need to highlight the same warning » concluded Stéphane Pouffary. All the actors, from the South and North, agreed on the importance to keep coordinating climate actions in a multi-stakeholder approach, all working together in an inclusive, evolutive and dynamic approach.
*The report (in french) is available here.