Presently, the Mediterranean Basin is known as a climate change hotspot.
The region is heating 20 percent faster than the remaining world, and 250 million of its people will be surviving under severe water stress by 2040. Meanwhile, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events increase, and a third of the region’s coastal population will be influenced by rising sea levels in the forthcoming decades.
Confronted with an intensifying triple crisis over climate, biodiversity, and water, it’s evident that bold action is required to acknowledge the impacts already hitting the region and its dwellers, including the loss of ecosystem services and water pollution, land, crop failure, and heat mortality. All of these will increasingly threaten social, economic, and political durability as they get worse.
Contrary to this backdrop, the European Union Green Deal agenda’s new nature restoration law delivers the perfect opportunity to galvanize regional action. However, in its current form, released by the European Commission last week, it just doesn’t go far enough in indicating the urgency of the challenges jeopardizing the Mediterranean, particularly when it comes to prioritizing our wetlands, which can deliver unique solutions to all three emergencies.
Yet, due to development, agricultural abstraction, and pollution, wetland degradation is widespread throughout the Mediterranean. Two-thirds of the region’s wetland regions have been depleted over the last century, and now, 36 percent of wetland-dependent species are threatened with extinction.
Actually, despite the essential goods and services they could deliver, Mediterranean wetland ecosystems are considered the most susceptible in the world.