EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete held a high-level conference in Skhirat, Morocco, today to advance discussions and cooperation in the region ahead of a new global climate deal to be adopted in Paris in December.
Commissioner Arias Cañete said: "Climate change is without doubt a huge challenge but it also presents new opportunities to make our societies and economies stronger. The Mediterranean region, with its rich opportunities for exploiting renewable energy sources and energy efficiency potential, is well placed to reap the benefits of a low-carbon transition."
Mediterranean countries are already experiencing the adverse effects of climate change. Scientists predict that the multiple challenges of water scarcity, rising temperatures, more frequent droughts and accelerating desertification will continue to make the region a climate change hotspot.
The region has strong links with the European Union through the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), a partnership of 43 countries including all EU Member States and Mediterranean country partners. Through the UfM, the European Union and its Mediterranean partners are strengthening their contribution to international efforts to fight climate change.
One of the aims of the conference was to strengthen countries' efforts to prepare their contribution for the new agreement as soon as possible. The EU was the first major economy to submit its contribution in early March. So far a handful of countries, including the US, Russia, Mexico and Gabon, have made submissions but more are expected in the coming months.
All countries must come forward with their contributions well in advance of the Paris conference to enable partners to design and agree a robust and dynamic deal capable of keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C.
As host of the 2016 climate conference, Morocco will play an important role in the implementation of the new agreement.