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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.

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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

Posted by euccmed in Publications, Research&Projects.
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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

Posted by euccmed in Events&Training.
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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

Conservation Sciences in the Mediterranean Region June 30, 2015

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Source: Tour du Valat

Tour du Valat, Research centre for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands,

with CEFE-CNRS (Montpellier) and IMBE (Aix-Marseille)
organise the 3rd conference for young scientists on

 Conservation Sciences in the Mediterranean Region

Next conference: 22 – 24 March 2016

This conference is held every second year at Tour du Valat

(Research institute based in the heart of the Camargue, within a nature reserve)

Please sign up on the page “news update” to receive information about the next conference !

First Mediterranean Conference on Food Systems in Urban Environments, July 2015, Rome June 18, 2015

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Organized by the System Dynamics Italian Chapter (SYDIC) in collaboration with “Sapienza” University of Rome, the System Dynamics Society (SDS) and with the technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), will be held in Rome on 6th-7th July 2015.

Conference presenters include: 
*JOHN INGRAM*, expert of Food Security and Member of the International Resources Panel from the United Nations;
*VANDANA SHIVA*, scientist, activist and member of several international organizations,(i.e.: World Future Council);
*HANS HERREN*, Head of the Millennium Institute;
*GEORGE P. RICHARDSON*, Professor Emeritus at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University of Albany;
*LAUREN BAKER*, Coordinator for the Toronto Food Policy Council, former Director of Sustain Ontario: The Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming, food researcher and activist.
The conference will discuss about real-world issues of our current food systems and cities with policy makers of different countries from local, national and international levels.Planetary issues, food systems efficiency, inclusiveness and resilience, as well as policies for improved food systems meeting urban food needs, will be some of the topics of analysis. The best papers from several international researchers participating in the calls for papers issued by FAO’s cross-cutting project “Meeting Urban Food Needs” (MUFN) will be presented at the Conference. In addition, participants will be able to attend some of the four workshops facilitated by leading scholars.
The complete Conference programme is now online.
REGISTER by accessing our website!

Unknown Mediterranean hotspots recognised by Ramsar wetlands convention June 16, 2015

Posted by euccmed in Mediterranean News.
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Source: WWF

An important initiative of Greece leads to the adoption of a resolution for the “Conservation of Mediterranean Basin island wetlands”

Greece brings to the spotlight the urgency to conserve the fragile island wetlands of the Mediterranean, through a resolution that was unanimously adopted on June 8th by the plenary of the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP12) to the Convention on Wetlands of international significance (Ramsar, Iran, 1971).

The resolution, which was submitted by Greece (Ministry Of Environment, Energy and Climate Change) in 2014, starts with the recognition that “the Mediterranean Basin is a global biodiversity hotspot and hosts one of the largest groups of islands in the world with a rich history and varied cultural values, while it remains one of the leading tourist destinations in the world”. It consequently “calls upon Contracting Parties in and around the Mediterranean to address urgently the significant human-induced pressures threatening island wetlands through effective and decisive legislative or executive measures and other actions which apply a precautionary approach that would prevent the destruction of island wetlands, while developing more long-term and integrated strategies or plans, so as to ensure the conservation of their biodiversity, and the maintenance of their hydrological, cultural and social values”.

This important development is the outcome of a decade of systematic work by WWF Greece, aimed at conserving the fragile wetland hotspots and defending them from the mounting human induced pressures. The immense values of island wetlands include shielding coastal areas from erosion and desertification and protecting island communities from the impacts of climate change. They also form unique landscapes that add to the touristic attractiveness of Mediterranean islands.

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Island wetlands form unique landscapes in the Mediterranean islands. Lesvos, Greece. ©Kaloust Paragamian / WWF Greece


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