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Government of Catalonia at the World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation, Manchester, 2-4 September September 1, 2015

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The Catalan Office for Climate Change will present the study “Global Indicator of Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts in Catalonia” at the World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation (WSCCA-2015), Manchester, UK 2-4 September 2015.

The study took 83 indicators as its starting point, identifying and classifying 29 key indicators as the methodology was developed. These are grouped under the following headings: water management, agriculture and livestock farming, forestry, health, the energy sector, industry, services and commerce, tourism, town planning and housing, mobility and transport infrastructures, research, development and innovation.

The subsequent statistical analysis of these 29 indicators, with the assistance of the Catalan Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (Ivàlua), produced a global adaptation indicator quantifying Catalonia’s capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. This global indicator is based on two factors: use of resources and environmental quality. Effectively, capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change depends on how we use resources (water and energy, principally) and on the quality of the environment (basically, the air we breathe).

The document contains a detailed description of all the indicators analysed. It also explains how the single global indicator was calculated. This detail means the methodology can be used by any country which has the necessary data available.

The global indicator allows a country’s capacity to adapt to climate change to be monitored over time. The absolute value of the indicator (from 0 to 10) dropped slightly between 2005 and 2011. Catalonia is working on the issue, but must continue to make every effort to improve the extent to which we are adapting to ensure that our land, natural systems and society are progressively less vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

In developing this indicator, Catalonia has a tool which provides guidance on where to focus efforts towards developing a green, circular, low-carbon economy which is adaptable to the new conditions brought about by climate change. This is opening up a range of economic and social opportunities which are currently being developed in fields such as energy efficiency, saving water, renewable energies, smart mobility, forestry management and healthcare.

The study is available here:

Third EMEG meeting “A frame for a comprehensive understanding of water-energy-food nexus” August 31, 2015

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From 30 September to 2 October 2015, the MedSpring project organizes in Malta the 3rd EMEG meeting, hosted by the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), in collaboration with CIHEAM-IAMB and MHESR. The next 3rd EMEG event will focus on the development of “A frame for a comprehensive understanding of water-food-energy nexus”.

The 3rd EMEG meeting, according to what required by MedSpring task 2.4, intends to develop a Nexus approach as a new framing for the interdependence of water, energy and food (the societal challenges addressed by MedSpring) and, through a better understanding of the synergies and trade-offs among them, identify the factors research should take into consideration to ensure that demand is met without compromising sustainability requirements. Please find the event rationale here and the event programme here.

Green entrepreneurship: SwitchMed Connect August 31, 2015

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Barcelona, 29–30 October 2015

SwitchMed Connect 2015 is the first annual gathering of Mediterranean stakeholders to build synergies, exchange knowledge, and scale up eco and social innovations. Leading start-ups and entrepreneurs, industry agents, initiatives, change agents, policy and financial institutions working on applications of productive, circular and sharing economies in the Mediterranean will come together in Barcelona. We will share our stories, expertise and experience on eco and social innovations. We will exchange in interactive sessions and find synergies. We will get inspired on how to scale eco and social innovations, and create actions in the scaling up labs.

More information

TWAS Science Diplomacy Workshop on Sustainable Water Management August 17, 2015

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August 23 deadline. TWAS will cover 80% of travel costs of young scientists plus full accommodation and visa.

The 4-5-day course will take place in Trieste, Italy, from 30 November to 4 December 2015.

The course will expose participants to some key contemporary international policy issues relating to science diplomacy and sustainable water management, including the use of shared rivers and underground aquifers, cross-border pollution issues, safe drinking water, etc.
Keynote presentations will set the scene and allow participants to develop their own projects in breakout groups. It is likely that there will also be the opportunity to visit a local water purification plant.
Applications are invited from young scientists, policymakers and diplomats, especially from developing countries. We ask you to read the guidelines before submitting your application. Applications can only be accepted via the online form which will be available until midnight (Central European Summer Time) of 23 August 2015.

More information

Floating litter in the Black Sea: abundance and composition August 6, 2015

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Originally posted on Marine Litter News for clean&healthy seas:

Source: Science for Environment Policy

Reliable data regarding marine debris pollution in the Black Sea are lacking. This study provides the first account of the abundance and types of litter floating in the north-western part of the Sea. This information will help to develop effective solutions for marine litter in the region and therefore to achieve the EU objective of ‘Good Environmental Status’ by 2020.

Marine litter is a growing problem that poses a threat to aquatic wildlife, human health and the economy. However, attempts to understand the scale of the problem have been sporadic. In several regions, the occurrence, abundance and distribution of marine litter remain unknown. The Black Sea is one such example.

This expanse of water is particularly vulnerable to pollution, as it is almost completely enclosed, surrounded by industrialised countries, home to shipping routes, fisheries and tourist activities, and a large drainage basin. Although a known…

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The economic benefits of carbon storage in the Mediterranean Sea July 29, 2015

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Source: Science for Environment Policy

Carbon storage in the Mediterranean Sea could be worth up to €1722 million a year, a new study has found. The researchers performed a combined ecological-economic assessment, finding that the sea takes up an estimated 17.8 million tonnes of CO2 every year, providing important climate change mitigation.

Marine ecosystems are essential for human life. They provide a host of ecosystem services on which society depends. One of the most important is carbon storage. Marine systems are thought to absorb approximately 2 billion tonnes of carbon every year, corresponding to around 25% of human emissions. The ability of the ocean to store such large quantities of CO2 prevents the gas from contributing to the greenhouse effect and slows down climate change.

One way to measure the importance of ecosystem services is via their economic value. While many ecosystem services have been measured like this, the monetary value of marine carbon sequestration is as yet unknown. As a result, market prices do not account for it, falsely suggesting that this service has zero value. Because many public and private sector decisions are made based on market information, the unquantified value of carbon sequestration could lead to poorly informed decisions about the management of marine and coastal areas.

Therefore a team of researchers, part-funded by the EU MedSeA project, estimated the economic value of marine carbon sequestration, using the Mediterranean Sea as a model. The researchers performed a combined ecological-economic assessment of carbon sequestration, consisting of a cutting edge biogeochemical model alongside European Commission estimates of the social cost of carbon emissions, which approximate the economic damages caused by increased CO2 emissions.

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Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic & Caspian Seas July 29, 2015

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Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic & Caspian Seas;

November 8th – December 10th 2015; Malta

·         Application Deadline 11th September 2015

·         PLEASE VISIT: the course website http://oceania.research.um.edu.mt/cms/ioicourse/

·         FOR DOWNLOADS OF: the Course Flier and Full Application Form http://oceania.research.um.edu.mt/cms/ioicourse/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=104

·         CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: IOITraining@ioihq.org.mt  and info@ioihq.org.mt  

The “Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas” builds upon the more than 30 years experience of the International Ocean Institute in conducting training and capacity building programmes on ocean governance. The theme of the course draws upon the conduct of maritime affairs at the regional level in a holistic and integrated approach, following the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, targeting the Millennium Development Goals, and the follow-up to RIO+20. It focuses on linkages between natural, social and economic sciences, the research-management interface and the support of technology to enable the effective achievement of ocean management and sustainable development.

The course also considers the implications of regional policies including the EU Integrated Maritime Policy for the European regional seas, with a science-based and holistic approach to policy undertakings and implementation, and brings to the forefront the characteristics of seas as different and sensitive as the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian in ocean governance issues.

Urban vulnerability to climate change in Europe – a map book (Pilot version) July 15, 2015

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Source: EEA

Climate change is happening, and is projected to continue, posing serious challenges for cities:
rises in average temperatures, in precipitation irregularities (more intense rainfall, or drought) and in sea levels. These changes are expected to result in more frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, fires and floods across Europe.
Read more: Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe

A map book

This map book aims to provide a Europe-wide overview of the potential vulnerability of major cities to climate change. The maps pinpoint possible weaknesses or problematic areas.
They present single indicators or variables that indicate certain vulnerabilities of major European cities to climate change, specifically to the climatic threats of heatwaves, water scarcity and droughts, floods and forest fires. Three types of indicators are listed:
  • exposure indicators: these provide information about the level of exposure to climate impacts;
  • sensitivity indicators: these provide information about the susceptibility of cities to such impacts, via population composition, spatial planning or physical conditions;
  • response capacity indicators: these provide information about characteristics that help to reduce or overcome the impacts.

Options to use the maps …

As a starting point, the indicated vulnerabilities will encourage stakeholders at European, national and city level to explore each situation in further detail, with more and local information. Furthermore, the map book enables cities to locate other cities with similar circumstances, as a starting point for sharing knowledge and experience. It shows clusters and hotspots for which national and European level actors can develop more tailored support. Finally, the map book provides a simple framework for urban vulnerability indicators, and indicates where further information is needed at local level, in order to make more detailed specific assessments.

… while recognising their limitations

The map book cannot provide a full and comprehensive picture, and the following limitations must be taken into account.
  • Uncertainties: the future is uncertain. Climate change projections are based on various scenarios that describe not one but a range of possible futures, based on the best available current knowledge. There is no way of knowing for sure what might transpire or which action to take in order to boost resilience.
  • Limited data availability: the best available Europe-wide data for cities is used in this map book, but coverage in several indicators is still limited. Specific data collection at local level might yield better outcomes in some instances.
    Also, in many cases, data are not yet available for projections on future climate change and demographics, land use and economic change. The assessment is therefore based on current vulnerabilities.
  • Limited number of indicators: due to a lack of Europe-wide data, only a few indicators can be shown in the map book. These indicators are considered to be key for a good understanding of city vulnerability, but additional indicators are needed to describe the vulnerability in full.

→ Maps per climatic threat
→ Maps of generic response capacity
→ Explore further

How to improve the efficiency of public participation processes in coastal management July 2, 2015

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Source: Science for Environment Policy

Public participation in developing coastal management plans can have numerous benefits, such as augmenting expert information with local knowledge and building trust, a new study has confirmed; however, challenges remain, say the researchers. They use the experiences of 10 case studies to make a series of recommendations regarding how to improve the efficiency of the process.

Public participation has a valuable role to play in the development of sustainability policies; it can enhance the democratic nature of the process, encourage knowledge exchange, foster trust and help reach a consensus. It is considered to be particularly important when managing coastal environments, as this complex task involves many different stakeholders all using the areas in different ways. However, public participation can also create challenges; it can be expensive, labour-intensive, confrontational, and can cause delays to the development and implementation of policies.

To date, there has been little research into ways of improving the process or methods to avoid pitfalls. For this study, researchers examined how to improve the efficacy of public participation in Integrated Coastal Zone Management. In particular, they examine the results of an EU project, PEGASO1, using 10 case studies, chosen to represent different spatial scales, issues, expertise and experiences. Seven of these were in the Mediterranean (in Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon) and three in Black Sea (in Romania, Ukraine, Georgia). Each case study group was able to develop its own methods for public participation, after a training course offered by the project.

After exploring the experiences of the 10 case studies, the researchers found that public participation had many positive impacts. It raised awareness regarding the importance of coastal management and ensured that knowledge was shared as well as partly bridging the gaps between the public, scientists, coastal managers and decision makers. However, there were areas that could be improved, and these can be summarised into five main recommendations:

1) It is very important that relevant data are available and easily interpreted. To make informed decisions the participants need to have access to a range of information concerning different issues and perspectives.

2) Although information from stakeholders is very valuable, helping to bridge gaps between expert and local knowledge, collating and combining these different types of data and information in the case studies proved very difficult and time consuming. Putting a procedure in place to deal with this challenge from the beginning of the process is important.

3) It is essential that there is co-ordination and flexibility between the many actors involved in coastal management. Government agencies, NGOs, businesses, research institutes and others all need to work together. Public participation can only work if it has a co-ordinated structure to build on.

4) It is important to encourage local stakeholders to take the lead in the participation process, to ensure that it can continue after the funded project has come to an end. Coastal management is a long-term process and public participation should continue to provide input.

5) There is often a mis-match between large-scale pressures on coastal environments and the local-scale governance used to manage them. This is also an important issue for the participation process, and should be taken into account when identifying which stakeholders to include.

UHINAK 2015 Cross border conference on climate and coastal change July 1, 2015

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  • Become acquainted with actions and solutions that entail adopting the measures needed to defend and protect the coast to tackle the consequences of climate change.
  • Bring together public administration, scientists and international experts with sector companies, to debate necessary interventions.
  • Learn from experiences and best practice and collaborate in coastal management and maintenance.
  • Promote cross-border collaboration and the creation of synergies.
  • Accept public opinion and disclose the activities of public administrations, in the light of concern about rough weather.
  • Recognise new business openings in the sector.

More information


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