Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Hugues Ravenel: “We aim to create a sustainable development scoreboard for the Mediterranean”

Written by Michel Neumuller, MARSEILLE on Wednesday, January 22nd 2014 à 21:19 | Read 571 times

MEDITERRANEAN. At a time of crisis, Plan Bleu has carried out underground work which will be highlighted during a review of the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Strategy.

Hugues Ravenel: “Growth cannot be the only indicator” (Photo MN)
Hugues Ravenel: “Growth cannot be the only indicator” (Photo MN)
The pursuit of growth is a benchmark for economic policies. Are you concerned that the environment will therefore be neglected?
Growth of between 5 and 10% is not enough to solve sustainability problems. The fruits of this growth must be distributed while maintaining an environment that provides resources for humanity.
During times of economic crisis, policy-makers often think that focus can be taken away from environmental issues. This is a mistake. On the contrary, a good environmental status creates economic and social opportunities, and these must be anticipated.
We have crossed the line far too much without thinking of the consequences. Take the posidonia beds as an example. You mistreat them through development and bottom-trawling, and the whole food chain will be affected as a result. The systemic aspects must be taken into account, and it's our job to ensure this.
Do you think your work influences policy-makers in the Mediterranean?
We play a part in changing their mentalities. In this way, supply policies are moderated. Before building a costly dam, developers are increasingly asking themselves how they can manage demand. They search for leaks in the networks first, and look into alternative solutions. 

How will you organise your action over the next few years?
For 10 years, we have been working within the framework of the Mediterranean Sustainable Development Strategy, which concerns all environmental issues in the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development which drives this strategy will be presided over by Malta for two years. This country shows sensitivity to these problems  and is proactive. It's an opportunity.
In December, during the Conference of the Parties to the Barcelona Convention in Istanbul, the coastal states of the Mediterranean and the European Union decided to review the Strategy in 2015, stating that Plan Bleu would contribute to this. This is our roadmap.
While the crisis appeared to bring environmental concerns to a standstill, Plan Bleu was continuing its work. Like a ratchet, we have stepped back to move further forward. We're ready to work with our partners to create a sustainable development scoreboard for the Mediterranean in two years. Growth can't be used as the only indicator for driving public policy! It's as if you are driving a car with your eye fixed on the speedometer without checking the fuel indicator or the temperature gauge. 
A good ecological status of environments generates economic activities (photo MN)
A good ecological status of environments generates economic activities (photo MN)

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