This policy paper focuses on the sustainable management of some key natural resources in southern and eastern Mediterranean countries (SEMCs) under climate change and anthropogenic pressures. In a business-as-usual and even more so in a failed cooperation scenario, water resources, ecosystems and biodiversity in the region are under stress, with negative consequences for agriculture, food security, tourism and development. However, proper adaptation strategies are shown to be effective in reconciling resource conservation with GDP, trade and population growth. These need be implemented in different ways: technological, institutional, behavioural; and at different levels: regional, national and international. There is ample room for fruitful cooperation between the EU and SEMCs in this area, which can take the form of EU direct financial and technical support when resources in SEMCs are scarce, and of multilateral and bilateral cooperation programmes to improve resource efficiency. The EU could also take on the role of coordinating these different bilateral actions and, at the same time, support SEMCs to establish a structured programme focused on the communication and dissemination of emerging best practices.
Francesco Bosello is Associate Researcher, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, (FEEM), Italy, Nicola Lamaddalena is Head of the Land and Water Department, Istituto Agronomico Mediterraneo Bari (IAMB), Italy