UfM countries united on emissions, sustainable recovery

Ministers meeting in Lisbon, effort for transition with cuts

15 June, 18:40

    NAPLES - The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Third Ministerial Meeting on Energy, held in Lisbon on Monday, culminated in a joint ministerial declaration in which all 42 UfM Member States agreed to join efforts to address the region's energy challenges and to promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Discussions focused on regional cooperation towards energy security and a low-carbon transition.

    With a population of over 500 million inhabitants and growing, it is estimated that energy demand in the region will increase by more than 50% by 2040.

    The ministerial declaration will be developed into concrete action plans bringing together relevant Mediterranean-area stakeholders.

    The meeting was co-chaired by Hala Zawati, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; and Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy for the European Union; in the presence of Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the UfM Secretariat; and hosted by João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Portuguese Minister of Environment and Climate Action.

    "We are at a pivotal moment in our fight against the climate crisis," Simson said.

    "Without policy change, the Mediterranean region will be 2.2 degrees warmer than pre-industrial times by 2040. To limit global warming, we urgently need to be more energy efficient, while increasing the use of clean energy in all sectors, including transport, industry and heating and cooling. The declaration adopted today sends a powerful signal and shows the willingness of the region to work together towards a clean energy transition," she said.

    Zawati also highlighted the benefits of the joint commitment.

    "The UfM ministerial declaration on energy will be a key catalyst in enhancing cooperation between our member states. It will help us realize our collective vision of expanding the reach of renewable energy and energy efficiency. It will also enhance cooperation of electricity exchange and stable supply of natural gas throughout the North and South Mediterranean Basin region. We are hopeful that the declaration will help promote equitable and sustainable growth that would directly spill over into post-pandemic recovery," he said.

    The priorities in the declaration include: the gradual integration of energy systems and markets while ensuring the security of energy demand and supply; the reinforcement of electricity interconnections and smart grids; an ambitious promotion of energy efficiency; the need to take appropriate actions to attract private investments in sustainable renewables; the role of research and development, innovation and digitalization in supporting an inclusive, economically efficient, low-emission transition.

    "The UfM is acutely aware of the urgent energy challenges facing the Mediterranean today, and of the pressing need to step up regional cooperation and collaboration in order to address them," Kamel said.

    "Today, UfM countries have reaffirmed their common goal and shared commitment to pushing forwards a fair, sustainable transition towards circular, low-emission, inclusive, efficient and resilient economies and societies."

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