UfM steps up biodiversity protection

More support for projects and 2030 targets

22 May, 17:31

    NAPLES - Large fires fostered by climate change have destroyed enormous areas of forest land and damaged biodiversity and the amount of area prone to large fires may rise by 40% if average temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees. Starting from these data, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has decided to promote and support studies and projects in the Mediterranean region to halt biodiversity losses and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth for a relaunch after COVID-19. UfM announced the decision on World Biodiversity Day, which this year focuses on the theme ''Our Solutions Are in Nature''. The first scientific study on the impact of climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean by the Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) with the support of the UfM underscored that 28% of about 25,000 plant species - half of which in the Mediterranean - are at risk. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), about 2,000 species are threatened, 69% of which are animals and 34% of which are fish species at risk due to overfishing.

    UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel noted that "sustainable cooperation mechanisms for biodiversity need more than ever to be at the heart of recovery plans after the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystems are high on the agenda of the UfM, as they are crucial to preventing, and building resilience to, future outbreaks and providing immediate business and investment opportunities for restoring the region's economy." UFM highlighted projets in the area including 'Plastic Busters MPAs' tackles marine litter in the Mediterranean, with the overall goal of maintaining biodiversity and preserving natural ecosystems in pelagic and coastal marine protected areas (MPAs). The project is led by the University of Siena, Italy.

    'Scaling up forest and landscape restoration' meanwhile aims to restore biodiversity and promote joint mitigation and adaptation approaches through regional platforms, technical assistance and pilot activities applying appropriate forest and landscape restoration. The project is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    The 'MedFund' aims to strengthen the financial sustainability of Mediterranean MPAs to protect marine biodiversity and to contribute to the long-term management of these areas across the region. The MedFund is coordinated by the Association for Sustainable Financing of Mediterranean MPAs.

    The next ministerial statement by UfM member states on the environment and climate change, expected to be issued during the meeting scheduled for December in Egypt, will shape the agenda Ain the area until 2030 and focus ever more on the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

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