A Sustainable Future for the Mediterranean


The Mediterranean ecoregion is renowned for its climate, for the common sea that separates and links three continents, for its antique heritage and cultural landscapes, and for the populations’ feeling of ‘belonging to the Mediterranean world’. It is also one of the main hot spots of world biodiversity: 10% of known higher plants live on only 1.6% of land surface and 7% of marine species in less than 0.8% of total ocean surface; many of these species are endemic (Map 1). Heavy constraints are hydric stress (summer water shortages), aridity in the South, natural hazards, limited expanse of plain surfaces and communication difficulties.

In 2000, the 22 riparian countries and territories (Map 1) accounted for:
  • 5.7% of the planet’s emerged surfaces, including deserts and mountain ranges, 
  • 7% of the world’s population (stable share) with 427 million inhabitants, 
  • 32% of international tourism, with 218 million visitors,
  • 13% of world GDP (decreasing), • 60% of the world’s “water-poor” populations,2
  • 8.3% of CO2 emissions (increasing). 
  • On the sea, 30% of international maritime freight traffic and some 20 to 25% of oil maritime transport transit through the Mediterranean.
The Blue Plan report analyses and provides extensive information on the dynamic interaction between populations, economic activities, territories, natural resources and milieus. It focuses on six main issues: water, energy, transport, urban areas, rural areas and coastal zones. The text herein has been simplified. The emphasis is on the determining factors and the risks associated with a trend scenario, as well as on the strategic orientations proposed for moving to an alternative sustainable development scenario. It is hoped that this summary will encourage readers to explore the main report.

The latest Blue Plan publication is a follow-up to the first report published 16 years ago1 to initiate environmental prospective on the Mediterranean Basin scale. A Sustainable Future for the Mediterranean: The Blue Plan’s Environment & Development Outlook takes stock of changes, draws attention to the main risks associated with the continuation of current trends, and calls for action by proposing strategic orientations to reconcile development with the environment and reinforce solidarity between both rims.

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