First review meeting of the GEF-UNEP Med program

The Annual Review Meeting (ASM) of the GEF-UNEP MedProgramme will be held on 2-3 November 2022 in Athens, Greece. “Evaluate – Synergize – Advance” is the slogan chosen for the meeting.

The MedProgramme Coordination Unit, which is hosted by the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP/MAP), the main implementing agency of the MedProgramme, is organizing this first edition of ASM in cooperation with the Implementing Agencies and Executing Partners of the eight Children’s Projects of the MedProgramme.

The ASM will bring together representatives of beneficiary countries (Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey) and other stakeholders for an in-depth review of the progress of the implementation of the “Mediterranean Sea Programme: Improving environmental security” (MedProgramme).

The MedProgramme focuses on priority actions to reduce key transboundary environmental stresses in coastal areas while building climate resilience and water security to improve the health and livelihoods of coastal populations and promote gender equality. sexes. The eight children’s projects cut across four GEF focal areas: biodiversity, chemicals and waste, climate change adaptation, and international waters.

“The stocktaking meeting will further strengthen cooperation and hopefully promote better management of natural resources in coastal areas around the Mediterranean. Tracking progress is key,” said UNEP/MAP Coordinator Tatjana Hema.

Evaluate, synergize and move forward

Fifty participants representing various development and societal actors, including multilateral environmental agreements and sister UN agencies, banking institutions, intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental bodies, businesses, research organizations and media, will take part in the meeting.

ASM will provide a forum for peer-to-peer learning and experience sharing between implementing institutions. One of the priorities will be to strengthen synergy through coordination between the institutions implementing the eight Children’s Projects, in line with GEF programmatic approaches.

The meeting will also highlight the impact achieved so far and, if deemed necessary, propose programmatic changes to accelerate the implementation of the MedProgramme.

Promising signals emerge

Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the first two years of implementation of the MedProgramme are beginning to bear fruit.

In the Moroccan city of Tangier and the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, two pilot projects of integrated coastal management plans are laying the foundations for the sustainable use of natural resources, guaranteeing equity, sustainability and the integration of related risks. to climate change for greater resilience. The plans encompass a gender-based approach to building the resilience of women and men to climate change taking into account their differentiated needs and priorities.

The ongoing implementation of the gender mainstreaming strategy in the Med program in all beneficiary countries ensures gender sensitive stakeholder engagement. A community of practice builds the capacity of implementing partners on gender equality, promotes knowledge on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and enables the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data.

In Libya, the MedProgramme has been instrumental in the development of new national legislation on marine protected areas that should strengthen conservation efforts in a country that has beautiful but highly vulnerable natural sites.

In Algeria and Lebanon, the national teams of the MedProgramme are stepping up their efforts for the definitive elimination of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a set of dangerous chemicals that have dangerous effects on people and nature. Although PCB production has ceased worldwide, phasing out PCB-containing oil and PCB-containing equipment remains a challenge.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the MedProgramme is strengthening national efforts to combat mercury pollution in Tuzla, the country’s third largest city. Mercury is globally recognized as a “hazardous chemical of global concern due to its long-range atmospheric transport, its persistence in the environment once introduced anthropogenically, its ability to bioaccumulate in ecosystems, and its its significant adverse effects on human health and the environment”. In Tuzla, an assessment supported by the MedProgramme will identify crucial risk mitigation measures for decision makers and communities.

The ongoing work of the MedProgramme on PCBs and mercury is part of a broader campaign against persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and mercury (Hg), supported by the secretariats of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) and Minamata. By the end of 2024, the full implementation of the MedProgramme should lead to the elimination of 2,000 tons of POPs and 50 tons of mercury.

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