Draft UNEP Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas

By Magdalena AK Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate, EUCC
The UNEP  Draft Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas is currently being finalized for the Mediterranean region. May 1st was the deadline for comments on the most recent version. The EUCC Mediterranean Center, a UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan partner, and also active in the civil society organization for the region, the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ESCDE) (http://mio-ecsde.org/).  Magdalena Muir is sitting on the Climate Change Working Group of MIO-ESCDE. 

The Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas (or Framework) focuses on the use of Integrated Coastal Zone Management as a climate adaptation measure. The Framework was prepared by UNEP/MAP in the context of the GEF-funded “Integration of climatic variability and change into national strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean” project (ClimVar & ICZM Project). This Project is executed in 11 Mediterranean countries to promote the use of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) as an effective tool to deal with the impacts of climate variability and change in coastal zones. 
The aspirations of the  Framework are to provide a regional approach in coordinating and assisting policy makers and stakeholders at all levels across the Mediterranean to:

– promote the right enabling environment for mainstreaming adaptation in national and local planning;
– promote and exchange best practices and low-regret measures;
– promote leveraging of necessary funding; and
– exchange and access best available data, knowledge, assessments and tools on adaptation, in order to increase the resilience of the Mediterranean marine and coastal natural and socioeconomic systems to the impacts of climate change.
The Framework also contains a succinct summary of European Union approaches to adaptation, which arguably also provides a viable approach and model for adaptation throughout the Mediterranean region:

“25. The European Commission adopted in April 2013 the EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change which identifies three priority areas: 1. Promoting action by Member States, through encouraging the adoption of comprehensive adaptation strategies and providing funding to help them build up their adaptation capacities. 2. ‘Climate-proofing’ action by further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors and ensuring that Europe’s infrastructure is made more resilient, and 3. Better informed decision-making by addressing gaps in knowledge about adaptation. The Commission states that priority will be given to adaptation flagship projects that address key cross-sectoral, trans-regional and/or cross-border issues.In order to support the 

development and implementation of climate change adaptation strategies and actions in Europe,

the European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT ( http://climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu ) has been launched since 2013.”

The Framework has been shared for inputs and comments, including national MAP Focal Points and MAP partners (such as EUCC Mediterranean Centre) and the Focal Points of the MedPartnership and ClimVar & ICZM projects. On the basis of that feedback, a revised draft is being prepared and submitted for its review, in order for it to be completed and finally submitted to the MAP Focal Points Meeting in October 2015 and then adopted by the 19th meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 19) to be held in Athens in February 2016. The final version of the draft Framework will be accompanied by a detailed background report providing an overview of the issues, the challenges and the current status regarding the adaptation to climate change of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas

EUCC and EUCC Mediterranean Centre provided limited comments  on the Framework on May 1st: 
First, we noted that the European directive in Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) – (Directive 2014/89/EU), establishes a framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management. Maritime spatial planning will contribute to the effective management of marine activities and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources, by creating a framework for consistent, transparent, sustainable and evidence-based decision-making. Inorder to achieve its objectives, this directive  lays down obligations to establish a maritime planning process, resulting in maritime spatial plan or plans; such planning process should take into account landsea interactions, including climate change effects, and promote cooperation among Member States. Therefore we think it is important to consider this new EU Directive in the section 4.1 of the Framework. Indeed, in the near future this directive may serve to conduct actions in terms of land-sea interaction considering the needs for climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as coastal resilience. We also noted EUCC and the EUCC Mediterranean Centre is already involved in the process of implementing MSP in the EU, and is available for collaborations.
EUCC and the EUCC Mediterranean Centre have aso been active participants, along with other members of civil society, in the
development of the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations Open Working Group, and in particular Oceans Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.  Therefore, we noted that the SDG Oceans Goal 14 was supported by the European Union and many Mediterranean countries within the Open Working Group process, and is likely to be ratified by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Given the synergies and overlaps between the UN SDGs (and particularly the Oceans Goal with its reference to the full implementation of regional regimes for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources) and the Draft Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas, we suggested that the Framework for the Mediterranean be amended to consider and incorporate the UN SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

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