• Mission4Nature

MED Talks: The Mission for Natural Heritage Builds Bridges between the North and the South of the Mediterranean


The Union for the Mediterra nean and the Interreg Euro-MED Programme have joined forces to embark on a journey of dialogue between the Euro-MED area and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries with ‘MED Talks’. Launched on 5 December 2023, this webinar series establishes a forum of robust discourse, uniting organisations from both shores of the Mediterranean.

The virtual gathering transcended borders, bringing together Euro-MED voices with participants from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. These diverse stakeholders converged to address the demanding challenges faced by our region, encompassing green and blue economy, natural resources protection, the development of sustainable living areas, and low-impact tourism. At the nexus of these discussions stood the four Missions of the Interreg Euro-MED Programme: Sustainable Tourism Mission, Green Living Areas Mission, Innovative Sustainable Economy Mission, and Natural Heritage Mission.

The Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation of the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN Med) represented the Mission for Natural Heritage during the event. Mrs. Lucía Prieto Fustes delineated the Mission’s commitment to protecting, restoring and valorising the natural environment and heritage, in line with the policies and objectives of the European Commission. The SOLVE the CHALLENGE awareness campaign, the annual institutional dialogue, and the four Working Groups on Area-based Conservation, Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Evaluating the Socio-Economic Importance of Biodiversity, and Ecosystem Restoration and Nature-based Solutions, were highlighted as key activities in which attendees could participate. Finally, the topics of the recently approved Interreg Euro-MED thematic projects were disclosed. Seagrass ecosystems, carbon farming, coastal management, forest fire prevention, drought risk management, MPAs management, flood risk management, sea level rise, forest management, ports environmental quality, and wetlands will be some of the matters that will guide the work of the Natural Heritage Mission in the upcoming years.

Afterwards, Dr. Emad Adly, General Coordinator at the Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED) and associated partner of the Institutional Dialogue project of the Mission for Natural Heritage, assumed the stage. Dr. Adly presented RAED’s pivotal role in engaging Arab civil society organisations in the implementation of the Rio Conventions while fostering sustainable development. His discourse portrayed North-South partnerships as architects of prosperity and resilience in the Mediterranean. RAED’s intervention highlighted pivotal action points, such as awareness and capacity development, good governance, accountability, research, and innovation. These elements underscored the imperative for the Mission to continue working with diverse associated partners in mainstreaming and uptaking results and best practices.

The MED Talks webinar was the first exploration of synergy between Northern and Southern stakeholders in the framework of the Interreg Euro-MED Programme, uniting them in advancing shared objectives for the Mediterranean. As two sides of the same coin, Northern and Southern contributors bring invaluable ideas, knowledge and experience to the overarching objectives of the region. The MED Talks journey has just begun!