Bleak future forecast for the Mediterranean... and Europe
Tourism and urbanisation put serious pressures on the Mediterranean's fragile coastal regions.
The Mediterranean region faces major environmental challenges which Europe cannot afford to ignore, according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme / Mediterranean Action Plan and the European Environment Agency. If the region carries on developing in a way that damages the environment, the environment will hinder developments, such as tourism. This is the main message coming out of the study, which received contributions from over 300 Mediterranean experts.
'The sustainable future of the Mediterranean: the blue plan,' report enjoyed its European launch in the European Parliament on 6 December. It paints an uncompromising picture of the Mediterranean's future, resonating with the main messages of the European Environment Agency's 'State and Outlook Report 2005' released last month.
The report says that the Mediterranean's already precarious state with its fragile coastal regions, scarce water supplies, vulnerable coastal ecosystems and large scale natural risks is under severe stress from tourism and urbanisation.
It warns both decision-makers and the general public about the cost of inaction and recommends viable, realistic solutions on designing a possible future for the Mediterranean's 430 million inhabitants.
The report will be continually updated and used as a tool to monitor the progress of the EU's 'Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development', an EU initiative to de-pollute the Mediterranean Sea by 2020.