Mediterranean NGOs agree action priorities

Environmental groups call for improved water management, coastal area protection

Introduction of an integrated approach to water management and better protection for coastal areas are the top priority action areas for Mediterranean environmental groups, it emerged at a conference last week. Around 80 organisations from 20 countries north, south and east of the Mediterranean Sea met in Barcelona under the umbrella network MED Forum to adopt a priority agenda for campaigning and lobbying activities. Established in 1995, MED Forum works to coordinate actions and pool resources among environmental NGOs in the region. Other priority areas agreed by the groups include desertification, biodiversity, sustainable tourism and waste management. Regarding water, the environmentalists want authorities in the region to draw up a set of indicators for sustainable water use, and honour international agreements on sewage and pollutant discharges. On coastal areas, they want to see legal limits set on urban growth. One MED Forum member told ENDS Daily it was very important to create greater awareness within EU countries of environmental issues specific to the Mediterranean area, such as water. Each tourist holidaying in the Mediterranean consumes 10 times as much water as a local person, he said. MED Forum is coordinated by the Spanish environmental group EcoMediterrànea.

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