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Medecc: Towards an Improved Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and Its Impacts in The Mediterranean Basin

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Feb 06, 2017 / 0 Comments
Mass mortality of the red gorgonian (Paramuricea clavata) in Mediterranean provoked by thermal anomalies ® Frédéric Zuberer, Diving service, Sciences of the Universe Observatory (OSU) Pythéas Institute, Marseille, France

The Mediterranean region is affected by numerous aspects of environmental change, including climate change, overexploitation and pollution of air and water. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted the region as one of the most vulnerable in the world. Having warmed more than the global average already, the region is at risk of significant water shortages, productivity loss in marine and land ecosystems, increased demand for irrigation and impacts of sea-level rise on coastal infrastructures. Countries in the South and East of the basin are at particular risk for severe economic losses and social impacts. The shared history and the close connections between countries and regions bordering the Mediterranean call for strong cooperation with respect to adaptation to, and mitigation of ongoing environmental change.


Unfortunately, a comprehensive assessment of recent trends, likely future development, and the consequences of environmental change for natural systems, the economy, and human well-being, including questions of poverty and migrations, is still lacking. Existing assessments cover only parts of the region in disconnected chapters (e.g. the reports of the IPCC or the World Bank) or only some topics (e.g. climate variability). Moreover, observational data and findings are not easily accessible and therefore insufficiently used to inform climate and other environmental policies at regional, national, and local levels.


In order to bridge this gap, the network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) has been launched at the Conference ‘Our Common Future under Climate Change’ in Paris, France (July 9, 2015). It is important to underline that MedECC is not a research project, as substantial scientific knowledge already exists (e.g. in leading research institutions around the Mediterranean, from large European projects such as CIRCE[1], or MedCLIVAR[2], French MISTRALS[3] research program and other research initiatives, such as Med-Cordex[4]). The aim is to provide a coherent and comprehensive synthesis and assessment of recent and expected changes in environmental policy and a dedicated science-policy interface.


This initiative meets a number of existing intentions by important stakeholders, such as the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD 2016-2025)[5], the Regional Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Areas[6] (UNEP/MAP), as well as the proposal included in the ‘Agenda of Positive Solutions’ [7]approved at the Mediterranean Climate Conference (MEDCOP 21) in June 2015.


MedECC has set itself the following specific goals:

  • To gather the scientific community working on climate change and its impacts in the whole Mediterranean basin. This includes building a bridge between existing research structures and programs and facilitating data-sharing through existing or new platforms.
  • To update and consolidate the best scientific knowledge about climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean basin and render it accessible to policy-makers, key stakeholders, and citizens.
  • To contribute to future IPCC, IPBES, or related assessments in the Mediterranean basin.
  • To bridge the gap between research and decision-making, contributing to the improvement of policies at the national, regional, and local levels by providing consolidated scientific assessments on particular issues and by responding to requests by decision-makers.
  • To identify gaps in the current research on climate change and its impacts in the Mediterranean
and interact with funding agencies for the development of new research programs to fill these gaps.
  • To help build the capacity of scientists from Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries (SEMCs) at the international level and standards; encouraging training, research, and development efforts in these countries.


More than 230 scientists from 21 countries, as well as several national research institutions, support MedECC. The network was present during the Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC (CO21 in 2015, Paris and COP22 in 2016, Marrakesh). The ongoing work of MedECC includes the preparation of the article “Environmental risks for sustainable development in the Mediterranean Basin” which will be submitted in January 2017 and the work on the first MedECC assessment report on the environmental change in the Mediterranean Basin, which should be published at the end of 2018. During the scoping workshop in October 2016 in Aix-en-Provence, France, a draft outline of this report was prepared.


More information:

MedECC is now coordinated by Wolfgang Cramer (CNRS, IMBE, OT-Med, France), Fatima Driouech (University Mohammed VI Polytechnic, Morocco), and Joël Guiot (CNRS, CEREGE, OT-Med, France) with the support of Katarzyna Marini (Lead Science Officer at MedECC Secretariat/Plan Bleu)





[3] Mediterranean Integrated STudies at Regional And Local Scales:






Katarzyna Marini

Since 2012, Katarzyna Marini has been a scientific manager of the Laboratory of Excellence OT-Med (, which brings together 10 research laboratories and 1 research federation, conducting interdisciplinary research on climate change and natural hazards in the Mediterranean. For the last two years she also supports the coordination of the network of Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC). She holds a Master’s degree in marine biology (University of Gdansk, Poland) and PhD in environmental sciences (specialty: oceanography) from the University of the Mediterranean (Marseille, France). Before joining the Labex, in 2009-2010 she worked as a research and development engineer, first at the Marine Station of Endoume (Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France) and then at the Biological Station in Roscoff (France). In 2010-2011 she was a research-teaching fellow at PROTEE (PROcessus de Transferts et d’Echanges dans l’Environnement) laboratory at Université du Sud Toulon-Var (France). In parallel with her scientific activity she has also worked in the field of environmental education. She is the coauthor of 13 peer-reviewed publications in international journals (6 of them as the first author).


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