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Mediterranean Neighbourhood


Horizon 2020

A key pillar of the environmental strategy for the Mediterranean is Horizon 2020 (H2020). The leaders of Euro-Mediterranean countries agreed to increase efforts to substantially reduce the pollution of the Mediterranean by 2020 at the 10th Anniversary Euro-Mediterranean Summit in Barcelona in 2005. This was endorsed during the Environment Ministerial Conference held in Cairo in November 2006.  

The Horizon 2020 Initiative tackles the sources of pollution that are said to account for around 80% of the overall pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, those are municipal waste, urban waste water and industrial pollution.

The Mediterranean strategy fleshes out the detail of Horizon 2020, grouping activities under four headings:

  • Projects to reduce the most significant sources of pollution. Focus is on industrial emissions, municipal waste and urban waste water, which are responsible for up to 80% of Mediterranean Sea pollution.
  • Capacity-building measures to help neighbouring countries create national environmental administrations that are able to develop and police environmental laws.
  • Using the Commission's research budget to develop greater knowledge of environmental issues relevant to the Mediterranean and ensure this is shared.
  • Developing indicators to monitor the success of Horizon 2020.



The work on these topics is organised and coordinated within three groups:

  • 1. Investments for Pollution Reduction and Prevention (PRPI) chaired by the UfM Secretariat and the European Investment Bank (EIB);
  • 2. Capacity Building (CB) for achieving H2020 objectives, chaired by the UfM co-presidency (Jordan and the EU represented by the European Commission) and UNEP/Mediterranean Action Programme UNEP/MAP); and
  • 3. Review and Monitoring (RM), chaired by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and UNEP/MAP.

The Horizon 2020 Steering Group, chaired by the UfM co-presidency (Jordan and the EU represented by the European Commission) aims at guiding, reviewing, monitoring and effectively coordinating activities that contribute to sustainable development through the integration of the environmental dimension in other sectors and within different levels of governance across the Mediterranean region. The Steering Group is responsible for the implementation of H2020. Its members participate on an equal footing and include: EU Institutions (EC, EIB, EEA), focal points of the UfM partners (including all EU member states), the Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean, the co-chairs of the different H2020 groups, the League of Arab States, other stakeholders such as IGOs, IFIs, NGOs, local authorities, private sector, etc. Three EU-funded regional projects support the Initiative in the Southern Mediterranean countries, in complement with other activities. See more details about the projects under the Regional projects section.

H2020 builds on existing institutions, initiatives and results, filling gaps where it could bring added value. It operates within the framework of existing and developing policy instruments, and supports the implementation of the commitments undertaken in the framework of the Barcelona Convention: MAP's Strategic Action Programme (SAP) to address pollution from land-based activities (SAP MED); the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), launched by the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) established under the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP). In addition to using EU policy tools (such as TAIEX, Twinning, etc.) it cooperates and tries to coordinate and synergise with all other relevant programmes (e.g. UNEP/MAP GEF SP for the Med LME, etc.).

During the first UfM Ministerial meeting on Environment and Climate Change in Athens on 13 May 2014, ministers renewed their commitments and endorsed the second phase of the Horizon 2020 Initiative.

For more information:

Horizon 2020 Web-Site
Contact the Horizon 2020 Secretariat:
+32 2 299 56 32
Fax: +32 2 299 41 23