Observatory for the Development of the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean area is now subject to rapid population growth, highly localised along its coastline. The population growth on the southern shore in addition to a seasonal tourism unevenly distributed around the Mediterranean, emphasises the role of the region and requires the consistent development of large-scale infrastructure having major environmental, social, economical and sanitary impacts. The existence of these impacts justifies the development of many scientific programmes that would benefit from greater consistency and from tighter links with the socio-economic needs of the regions. All these issues must fit into the goals of long-term sustainability.
This area under accelerated growth consists of a virtually closed ocean basin, with marked relief on its periphery. Already threatened by seismic hazard, this region that can also trigger Tsunamis, will suffer at the same time from the impact of a rapidly changing climate involving hydrometeorological events or intense wind, drought, fire, water eutrophication. These irreversible changes in continental and marine ecosystems are otherwise strongly coupled to human activities.
Development capabilities of the Mediterranean and its "livability" are therefore vulnerable, with particular threats to the access to public goods that represent certain natural resources. Access to water, for example, both in quality and quantity can be problematic, leading a succession of use conflicts and threats to public health. A better integrated management of water cycles and water ecosystems is essential. In addition to the risks of any kind associated with environmental changes, increasing maritime traffic (1/3 of the world’s oil passes through the sea), urban concentration, industrialisation, standardisation of agricultural production patterns, changes in diet habits, are sources of concern for coastal residents about the harmonious development of their regions.
Noting that a number of decisions on development suffer from a lack of reliable scientific basis and references, the Observatory for the Development of the Mediterranean (ODMED) wishes to deal with the treatment of these specific vulnerabilities to the development of the Mediterranean region.
The Observatory for the Development of the Mediterranean (ODMED) aims at becoming a "Device for Decision Support" available to policy makers and developers of all countries bordering the Mediterranean, bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and the needs of stakeholders, developers, policy makers and concerned populations, which is one of the main objective of the report on the “Goals for the millennium” (“ bridging the gap between the scientific output and the needs of the stakeholders” )
The great diversity of these regions, both politically, geographically and economically, or even requires that “Regional Systems” for consulting and decision support are developed at the request and depending on needs. They will follow a collective and interactive approach to pool, on singular issues, skills gathered throughout the network. Workshops will be organised, more generally at the local level, to which scientists, developers, manufacturers, government officials, representatives of the civil society, will participate in order to develop detailed recommendations on the development and management of coastal areas, as well as management measures.
These recommendations from the ODMED will be based at first on the scientific expertise of all researchers within the network of marine research institutes located around the Mediterranean Basin. This networking of skills and knowledge will enable the development of an integrated and collaborative use of observation data that are collected there in a sustainable manner. It will consists in the standardisation of the methodology to facilitate the construction, dissemination and use of relevant indicators of sustainable development that can be used used at the global scale of the basin or for regional operations, even local, to country planning.
Besides the construction of indicators and their dissemination through geo-information systems, ODMED task will be to translate into "scientific" questions, or more accurately "objectified" questions the needs expressed by:
People living near the Mediterranean
Companies that will be responsible to carry out the construction of the infrastructure that are necessary for the development of these regions
Following an evolutionary process, the Observatory is an instrument contributing to the establishment of strategies, investment programs and modes of operation based on sound science. The ODMED is under the auspices of the Inter-Academic Group for Development (GID), all academies of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, ensuring the scientific quality independently of governments. During the initial phase of the project ODMED the role of GID will be to ensure the emergence of local initiatives, to celebrate success, to ensure the proper functioning of information exchanges leading to the integration of skills and the promotion of synergies with all other bodies working for similar goals. In accordance with its principles of action, GID will seek to develop synergies between scientific advances, professional practices and expectations of Mediterranean communities.
From 12th to 14th of November 2013, GID will organise a conference in Malta open to all countries bordering the Mediterranean, in order to initiate the process leading to the creation of the ODMED.
It will bring together about 60 to 80 people, with part of decision makers (from both public and private domains), users and existing or potential developers of the Mediterranean basin, and with part of representative scientists representative of marine stations and laboratories around the Mediterranean. Related sciences (climatology, atmospheric chemistry, hydrology, …) will be also represented as well as other communities with skills in line with the objectives of the Observatory (sociologists, economists, …)
The objective is to lay the groundwork for the establishment and operation of ODMED:
Consistency of players: relationship between marine stations, laboratories, local and national authorities, companies, producers, associations, …
Products and services: databases, standards, certifications, indicators, labels
Organisation: tools, structures, vectors
Modes of action and development, relationships with existing structures - networks, funding, training, …
This conference will lead to the formulation of strategy elements in the medium and long term, on a plan of action based on cooperation between local actors and the establishment of the functional structure of the ODMED.
President: François Guinot
Vice-President: Denis Lacroix
SG: Jacques Fröchen
Deputy SG & Communication dir.: Francis Segond
Secretary: César Manrique
CNRS local support: Arnaud Lalo (CNRS, Malta), Edouard Michel (CNRS, Malta)
Dominique Le Quéau
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