Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Environment – Opportunities to be seized for Southern Rim countries

on Monday, December 19th 2016 à 15:22 | Read 431 times

The FEMISE is one of the co-authors of the Energies2050 report on climate change in the Mediterranean, drawn up as part of COP22. The report singles out the lack of effort being made in the Southern Mediterranean, while at the same time highlighting the genuine assets that can be utilized as part of environmental policy.

(photo F.Dubessy)
(photo F.Dubessy)
 In a chapter of the ENERGIES2050 Report entitled "Post Arab Spring South-Med region and the potential for the environment", presented at COP22, Drs. Constantin Tsakas (general manager of the Institut de la Méditerranée and secretary-general of the FEMISE), Maryse Louis (FEMISE general manager and programmes manager at the ERF) and Abeer El-Shinnawy (FEMISE, American University of Cairo) underline the fact that opportunities are there to be seized and externalities to be compensated by the Southern Mediterranean states.

The environment sector offers opportunities here and now, particularly in the creation of added value and new jobs. For example, the authors point out that "270,000 to 500,000 jobs could be created in the renewable energy sector in Morocco between now and 2040."

For the moment, however, the forecasts are worrying, with diminishing natural water supplies and an increase in the risks faced by the agriculture sector. According to the report, "preliminary FEMISE estimations indicate that a 1°C rise in temperatures would result in a drop in GDP per inhabitant of around 8% on average, the figures ranging between -17% for Egypt and 0% for Turkey, Tunisia and certain Mashriq countries." The rise in sea levels will no doubt have the most damaging consequences, with coastal cities in Turkey and Tunisia and in the north of the Nile Delta coming under threat.

To give greater importance to environmental issues

(photo F.Dubessy)
(photo F.Dubessy)
Although the chapter does highlight "a few initiatives here and there", it also notes that "these efforts remain insufficient to bring about large-scale change. It seems vital for Mediterranean countries to give greater importance to environmental issues in their economic policies."

Researchers are therefore pressing Southern Mediterranean states to "give greater importance to environmental issues in their economic policies… to develop businesses/industries that are scarce in the region's countries". The FEMISE suggests concentrating efforts in the manufacturing, finance, insurance and construction sectors, a move that is even more vital in that, as the report points out, "Southern Mediterranean countries are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change".

Is there a momentum to be carried forward? Apparently so. Even though the Arab Spring has put environmental concerns on the back burner, the renewable energy sector remains stable in terms of investment in the region, with 2015 one of the busiest years for IDE project announcements.

Lastly, the authors add that Southern Rim countries could take advantage of a number of assets: their high potential for solar power production, competitive unskilled labour costs and the fact that, for the European partners, the emergence of a green economy in the region would be a welcome development.

In partnership with Femise

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