Sophia-Antipolis, 28 May 2015: Plan Bleu organized the first Steering Committee meeting of the Med-ESCWET project on “the economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by wetlands in the context of climate change in the Mediterranean”. This meeting had in particular the objective of validating the 4 pilot sites choice in the Mediterranean region, where an economic valuation of one of the regulating services provided by wetlands in terms of climate change adaptation will be carried out.
Context and objectives of the Med-ESCWET
Project According to IPCC reports, climate change will have a significant impact on water resources in the Mediterranean region. An increase in extreme events (floods, heat waves, droughts, etc…) is expected, and has already been noted in some regions, as well as the related risks in terms of economic losses and human lives. Adaptation to climate change and mitigation of its impacts are therefore major challenges for water management in the Mediterranean region.
While many studies on the impact of climate change impact on ecosystems already exist and are currently underway, it seems that, conversely, the study of ecosystems’ role as an adaptation tool is still largely to develop. However, ecosystems such as (undamaged) wetlands have (1) a direct role in climate regulation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and (2) a function of mitigation of climate change effects by providing protection against floods, droughts and coastal storms.
The Med-ESCWET project on “the economic valuation of ecosystem services provided by wetlands in the context of climate change in the Mediterranean” aims at promoting ecosystems-based approach and facilitating its integration in national climate change adaptation policies as a main objective. To raise policy makers awareness on wetlands importance in climate change adaptation, the project seeks to economically assess these services to inform the decision-making process. Economic valuation of these ecosystems services will allow to reconcile both the development and conservation issues related to preservation or destruction of certain ecosystems, to assess the relative impact of alternative actions and, thus, to guide decision-making.
This project was initiated in 2013 by Plan Bleu, in partnership with Tour du Valat, for a three years period. It is co-financed by the MAVA Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Objectives of the 1st Steering Committee meeting
The overall objective of the first 1st Steering Committee meeting of the Med-ESCWET project was to collect the views and experience from all the participants on the pilot site proposals and associated ecosystem service, which will be economically assessed later on in the project.
The specific objectives were to:
- Present the Med-ESCWET project and ongoing activities
- Present the results of the feasibility study led on twelve potential study sites
- Reach a pre-selection of 4 primary combinations of sites / ecosystem services to study in the Med-ESCWET project.