On 8th December 2021, during COP22 in Antalya, the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention (i.e. the 22 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea) adopted Decision IG 25/18 with a set of 12 Regional Measures to support the development of sustainable businesses and to strengthen the demand for sustainable products in the Mediterranean.
The majority of regional measures are divided by the four groups of stakeholders targeted depending on their role in the sustainable business ecosystem, namely entrepreneurs and SMEs, policymakers, business support organisations and financial actors. There are two measures addressing single-use plastics and Blue Economy, relevant sectors for the Barcelona Convention. Finally, there is one transversal measure addressing the access to sustainable products and services.
Through SwitchMed, the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) analyzed the situation in each of the Mediterranean countries, conducted a consultation process and developed policy recommendations on which the preparation of the set of regional measures was built. The resulting documents such as the Regional Summary of Policy Recommendations and the Country Profiles can be found here.
Through this decision, the countries also adopted the definition of a Sustainable Business as follows:
“A sustainable business provides commercial solutions which create ecological value and/or safeguard the environment (addressing environmental challenges and/or reducing environmental impacts) and are economically viable and socially empowering.”
The approval of the decision by the countries at COP22 is expected to promote a common understanding of the definition of criteria for circular and green economy businesses and facilitate the formulation of measures to support the development of these businesses at the national level.
Through these regional measures, all the knowledge and experience generated by the first phase of SwitchMed (2013-2018) is being transferred to a more permanent framework that is the Barcelona Convention. This includes experiences such as the Switchers Support Programme (Measure E1: Programmes for sustainable business development.), the creation of Switchers Support National Partnerships (Measure B1: Mediterranean Network of Networks of Business Support Organizations), or the Switchers Community (Measure E2: Mediterranean community of eco-entrepreneurs).
SwitchMed is also working on the creation of the Switchers Policy Hub, that represents one of the measures adopted (Measure P1) and will help to achieve other measures in the Mediterranean region by supporting policymakers to make the transition to circular green and blue economy in the region a reality.
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