Production and consumption patterns in the Mediterranean region, in combination with demographic growth, urbanization, and rising living standards, have led to an increase in resource depletion and environmental degradation. This adds to inefficient industrial processes and unsustainable waste management, putting further pressure on the natural resources on which Mediterranean economies depend.
A transition towards more sustainable pathways is urgently needed. By integrating the environmental, economic and social spheres, sustainable businesses are key drivers for the transition towards a green, circular and blue economy in the Mediterranean, but they need an enabling policy environment to thrive. This new award aims to recognise the work of innovative green entrepreneurs from Southern Mediterranean countries, as well as the efforts undertaken by other actors in the entrepreneurship ecosystem to support them, such as public authorities, financial institutions, business support organisations or civil society organisations.
A spotlight in the Southern Mediterranean
Within the framework of the SwitchMed programme, the Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC), is launching the first edition of the Mediterranean Sustainability Award. During the 21st meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols (COP21), Contracting Parties adopted Decision IG. 24/13 on the “Implementation, Monitoring and Mid-Term Evaluation of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016-2025 and of the Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Mediterranean”. The Contracting Parties specifically requested UNEP/MAP (through SCP/RAC) to launch the first edition of the award as a flagship initiative of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD).
There are many awards highlighting eco-innovations in Europe, but the benchmarking study conducted by SCP/RAC highlighted that there aren’t as many awards recognising these kinds of achievements in Southern Mediterranean countries.
The award will shine a light on sustainable businesses from Southern Mediterranean countries that contribute to sustainable and fair consumption and production models. Therefore, the core selection criteria will be related to environmental, social and economic value creation.
Moreover, the award aims to raise awareness about the challenges that sustainable entrepreneurs face, such as the lack of access to non-reimbursable funds in the region or the lack of knowledge transfer, as well as the important role of other actors in working together and strengthening the supporting ecosystem.
Recognising gender equality
Achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and girls as agents of change is critical on the way towards transformative change for sustainability. When developing the award, gender mainstreaming was an important aspect that was taken into account. The award will reward participants that have implemented measures to ensure gender equality in their sustainable initiatives. Moreover, the jury will be gender and geographically-balanced, being formed by four female and three male experts from Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries.
Each edition will have a different thematic focus and different categories of participants.
For the 2021 edition, the categories invited to apply are A) Sustainable Businesses (both at early and growth stage) and B) Public Authorities.
The prize will consist of a cash award of 10,000€ or 15,000€ for Sustainable Businesses and an honorary award combined with a study visit for the Public Authorities.
The call for applications will be opened during the month of May for 30 days, and the winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony organised in Autumn.
All the information is available at www.wemedaward.org
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