Key dates

1976-2016Plan Bleu: a history of foresight

Since the end of the 1970s, Mediterranean countries have decided to cooperate in order to «to provide the responsible authorities and planners of the various countries of the Mediterranean region with information that will enable them to draw up plans to ensure sustained optimal socio-economic development without causing environmental degradation» and «to help the governments of the coastal states of the Mediterranean region to deepen their knowledge of the common problems they have to face both in the Mediterranean Sea and in its coastal areas» (Intergovernmental meeting, UNEP/IG.5/7, 1977).


Adoption of the Barcelona Convention and creation of the Plan Bleu


The Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea from Pollution (Barcelona Convention) is adopted on the 16th of February 1976 in Barcelona and entered into force in 1978. The Plan Bleu is assigned the production of foresight studies and future scenarios, to raise awareness amongst Mediterranean stakeholders and decision-makers on matters of the region’s environment and sustainable development. 


Publication of a first foresight report: “Le Plan Bleu : Avenir du Bassin Méditerranéen”


The Plan Bleu coordinates and publishes a first foresight report entitled « Le Plan Bleu : Avenirs du Bassin Méditerranéen » (1989). This report is used as a reference in the drafting of environmental and sustainable development policies in the Mediterranean. It upholds regional, national and sectoral planning in various sectors.


Publication of a second foresight report: “Méditerranée - Les perspectives du Plan Bleu sur l’environnement et le développement”


The Plan Bleu coordinates and publishes a second foresight report entitled: «Méditerranée – Les perspectives du Plan Bleu sur l’environnement et le développement» (2005). This report is also used as a reference for drafting environmental and sustainable development policies in the Mediterranean, including for the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD). It upholds the regional, national and sectoral planning of various sectors and is cited in numerous works. It remains today a reference in foresight studies.


The Plan Bleu is mandated by the Barcelona Convention to produce foresight studies


In this context and in the framework of the implementation of Article 4 of the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), the Regional Activity Centre/Plan Bleu (Plan Bleu) has been mandated to «carry out analyses and prospective studies to help forge visions of the future as an aid to the decision-making process» and «to disseminate the findings of this work in various forms and through appropriate channels, including the regular publication of state of the environment and development reports and environment and development outlooks for the Mediterranean region» (Decision IG.19/5, 2009).

2016 - 2019Preparatory phase of MED 2050

Once the foresight exercise is part of the Mediterranean Action Strategy, MED 2050 becomes a concrete project. A roadmap is drafted by the focal points of the Mediterranean Action Plan. This preparatory phase sets up the foundations of a robust methodology and enables the operationalisation of MED 2050, once the project is approved by the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) and by the Contracting Parties.


Workshop with experts and integration of MED2050 in the Medium-Term Strategy of the MAP


The Plan Bleu organises a workshop with experts to inscribe foresight objectives in the 

Medium Term Strategy (MTS) 2016-2021  of the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) and to launch MED2050. This strategy reiterates the objectives of « Delivering knowledge-based estimates of the Mediterranean environment and development scenarios to support the work of decision-makers and stakeholders » (Decision IG.22/1). In order to implement this decision, the Contracting Parties included the development of a « Roadmap for the preparation of the MED 2050 Report », as a specific core activity (Decision IG.22/20 in the Program of Work and Budget for 2016-2017.


Drafting of the MED2050 Roadmap


The focal points of the Mediterranean Action Plan meet and draft a roadmap for MED 2050. This roadmap enables the delimitation of a methodological framework that clearly sets the foresight methods of the project. 

This roadmap was submitted at the 17th meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development in July 2017, which expressed the necessity of new foresight study on the environment and development of the mediterranean region in 2050. This was supported by the fact that the 2025 objectives were about to be reached. This roadmap was then included in the Program of Work 2018-2019 of the MAP and submitted to the Contracting Parties in view of the ordinary meeting of COP20.


Publication of the technical report: “Towards a new foresight exercise on environment and development in the Mediterranean”


The benchmark report entitled : “Towards a new foresight exercise on environment and development in the Mediterranean: Benchmark report of existing studies” accounts for foresight studies available on the Mediterranean, and analyzes their strengths and weaknesses. The aim of the study is to identify various challenges that could serve as guidelines for the MED 2050 foresight exercise. 

The paper identifies and classifies relevant foresight studies. Then, it proceeds to a comparative analysis of the contents of these different works, highlighting the main trends and uncertainties, the driving variables, the main families of scenarios produced, the proposed recommendations and the methodological considerations. The final stage of the analysis discusses the observations made in the previous sections in order to identify the blind spots in the existing literature.


International symposium: “Environment and Development of the Mediterranean, yesterday, today, tomorrow”.


In June 2018, Plan Bleu organises the international symposium "Environment and development in the Mediterranean yesterday, today and tomorrow" in partnership with the Serge Antoine Foundation, which brings together more than 130 participants, experts and policy makers from Mediterranean countries, representatives of MAP components, national, European and international institutions, and members of civil society. Major trends in the Mediterranean are presented and discussed, and the objectives of MED 2050 are at the center of discussions.


Workshops and constitution of a network


Several thematic networks and workshops on topics such as the sea, rural environment and agriculture, and demography are set up throughout 2018-2019. Contacts with prospective entities in France and in other Mediterranean countries are established with the support of Plan Bleu Focal Points and MCSD members.

2019 - 2021Effective phase of MED 2050: Developing the foresight base (Module 1)

Following the approval of the MED 2050 roadmap, the first Module enables the construction of the foresight base and the institutionalisation of the exercise.

This phase aims at constituting a basis for analysing the Mediterranean system by exploring in a preliminary manner the trends, ruptures or weak signals specific to it and prioritising the challenges (risks or opportunities) for the environment and sustainable development in the 2030-2050 timeframe.


COPb21 approves the MED 2050 Roadmap.


COP 21 endorses the revised roadmap for the MED 2050 foresight exercise and requests the Secretariat to implement it. Furthermore, COP 21 encourages the Contracting Parties to participate in phase II of the MED 2050 foresight study, to organise on a voluntary basis national or sub-regional workshops, and to nominate relevant experts or national stakeholders, including youth representatives, to contribute to the study.


Publication of the SoED: “State of Environment and Development in the Mediterranean”


Plan Bleu conducts and publishes the State of the Environment and Development Report (SoED), which presents a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the interactions between environment and development in the Mediterranean region. The RED 2020 provides a solid basis for exploring the possible futures of the Mediterranean basin, and proposing a sustainable and shared future, in the framework of MED 2050.

In total, around 150 organisations co-authored the report, including several national experts recommended by their countries.


Module 1: the Foresight Base


Between 2019 and 2022, the Plan Bleu invites experts to form a Foresight Working Group. These experts come from the three shores of the Mediterranean basin in order to represent the diversity of the Mediterranean region. The members meet regularly and contribute to the constitution of this foresight base, notably by drafting 36 variable sheets that bring together various factors influencing the future of the Mediterranean (Module 1). 

A MED 2050 Policy Committee ensures that the objectives set by the Contracting Parties and partners are achieved. The Committee brings together actors representing structuring organisations of the Mediterranean, on the themes of environment, development, or civil society, as well as representatives of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention.

2021-2022 (aujourd’hui)Working phase and development of the scenarios (Module 2 and 3)

The previous module supports the foresight basis of the exercise. Module 2 engages different actors and stakeholders to construct contrasting visions of the future of development and of the environment. This then allows the development of six contrasted scenarios. These macro-scenarios represent the core of the MED 2050 project (Module 3).


Module 2: Visions


This second phase allows for stakeholder consultation and the co-construction of differentiated visions of the future of development and of the environment in the Mediterranean - with actors (representatives of the political, economic and scientific domains, civil society, media, etc.) from the three sub-regions of the Southern, Eastern and Northern Mediterranean. Qualitative interviews are conducted, as well as a workshop with youth from around the Mediterranean.


Module 3: Scenarios


Module 3 aims to conceive several contrasting scenarios for the 2030-2050 time frame, building on previous work. In total, six macro-scenarios are developed.

These scenarios represent the core of the MED 2050 foresight exercise. The central objective is to build robust, plausible and contrasted scenarios on the future of the Mediterranean Basin - including its maritime domain - in 2050.

2022 - 2023Elaboration of the transition pathways (Module 4)

This phase compares and reflects on possible transition paths towards the sustainable development of the Mediterranean, based on the scenarios developed in Module 3. 


Module 4: Transition pathways


Module 4 is currently underway. 

The objective is to produce strategies according to the different scenarios, in order to achieve the desirable ones while preventing the major risks of the others. These strategies will be put forward to the signatory states of the Barcelona Convention as sustainable public policy recommendations.