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  1. Since the late 1970’s, Mediterranean countries have decided to cooperate to put “at the disposal of political leaders and decision-makers all information that will enable them to develop plans likely to ensure sustained optimal socio-economic development without degrading the environment” and help “governments of coastal states in the Mediterranean region to increase their knowledge of the joint problems they have to face, both in the Mediterranean Sea and in their coastal areas” (Inter-Governmental Meeting, UNEP/IG.5/7, 1977).
  2. Within this context and in the framework of the implementation of article 4 of the Barcelona Convention and of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), Plan Bleu/Regional Activity Centre (Plan Bleu) has been mandated with the “preparation of analyses and prospective studies to assist in constructing visions of the future as an aid to decision-making” and the “dissemination of the findings of this work in the various appropriate forms and channels, including the regular publications of state of environment and development reports and environment and development outlook for the Mediterranean region” (Decision IG.19/5, 2009).
  3. Plan Bleu has coordinated and published two major foresight studies to date: “Futures for the Mediterranean Basin: The Blue Plan” (1989) and “A sustainable future for the Mediterranean: The Blue Plan’s Environment and Development Outlook” (2005). Those reports have served as a reference to prepare environment and sustainable development policies in the Mediterranean, including the MSSD. They have supported regional, national and sectoral planning in various domains, and been cited hundreds of times. While they are now outdated and best used as historical references, decision- makers and experts continue to request Plan Bleu with information drawn from those reports given the lack of work fulfilling the same
  4. The MAP Mid-Term Strategy (MTS) 2016-2021 reiterates the objective “to deliver knowledge- based assessments of the Mediterranean environment and scenario development for informed decision-making and stakeholder work” (Decision IG.22/1). To implement this decision, Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention included in the MAP Programme of Work and Budget 2016-2017 the development of “a roadmap for the preparation of MED 2050 report”, as the Main Activity (Decision 22/20).
  5. To prepare such roadmap, Plan Bleu organized an expert workshop (December 2016), conducted a benchmark study on the strengths, weaknesses and gaps of 35 recent foresight studies in the Mediterranean region[1], and consulted with national representatives and experts. The Draft MED 2050 Roadmap was presented and discussed at the meeting of Plan Bleu Focal Points (April 2017), the 17th Meeting of the Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) (July 2017), the Meeting of the MAP Focal Points (September 2017) and the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP 20, Tirana, Albania, December 2017). The Contracting Parties welcomed this roadmap, adopted its Phase I, and requested the Secretariat (Plan Bleu) to present the progress of Phase I at COP 21 to enable them to provide guidance for Phase II (Decision IG.23/4). This involves preparing a revised roadmap for Phase II. The present document fulfils this objective.


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I. MED 2050 Scoping and Key Directions

6. Preparatory activities (benchmark, expert workshops, and stakeholder consultations) established that a new foresight on environment and development was necessary in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean context has considerably evolved since MAP last foresight exercise published in 2005, with the Arab springs, acceleration of climate change, oil counter-shock, national, regional and global geopolitical upheavals, etc. The preparation of upcoming strategic documents, including the new MAP Medium term strategy and MSSD revision require a new vision for the future. The coming decades will be decisive for resolving environmental problems, seizing emerging opportunities and paving the way for a prosperous and peaceful Mediterranean region, in which people enjoy a good quality of life and where sustainable development takes place within carrying capacities of healthy ecosystems. MED 2050 will shed light on these critical objectives.

7. Preparatory activities for MED 2050 also provided insight on how this exercise should be shaped to fill gaps and facilitate decision-making in the next decade, while building on existing knowledge and resources. MED 2050 has thus been designed along the following key directions:

  • A 2050 horizon – with an intermediate horizon at 2030 (corresponding to the SDGs). A 2050 perspective allows to consider long term issues, such as climate change, possible ecosystem disruptions and their economic and social outcomes (consequences on agriculture, fisheries, lifestyles, migrations, urbanization, energy policies, etc.), and to identify necessary transitions.
  • In line with Barcelona Convention and MAP concerns, the sea and maritime economy are put upstream of the thought process, in a systemic framework.
  • MED 2050 adopts a participatory approach, to support the documentation of contrasting visions of the Mediterranean future. It will acknowledge that countries and stakeholders start from different situations and viewpoints, and help co-construct shared objectives in the medium and long term.
  • A balance between quantitative and qualitative approaches, combining use of existing trend information with a more qualitative analysis of disruptions and weak signals.
    • Beyond forward anticipation (forecasting), MED 2050 will use a strategic approach, consider contrasting scenarios, and identify transition paths (backcasting).
  • A stronger investment in communication. MED 2050 results, even at intermediate stages, will be made accessible to the different interested publics – from specialists to citizens.

8. The proposed revised roadmap is organized around four main activity modules: Module 1: Trends, ruptures and weak signals; Module 2: Comparing and sharing contrasting visions; Module 3: Designing scenarios; Module 4: Co-constructing transition strategies. Scientists and MAP experts are already or will be associated to all modules. A graph summarizing these components is presented in Appendix 1. A provisional schedule is in Appendix 2. 4.

9. Phase I of MED 2050, carried out during the biennium 2018–2019, included start-up activities (mobilizing existing resources, creating a network and designing a participation strategy), and Module 1 on the evaluation of trends, disruptors and weak signals. Phase II of MED 2050 corresponds to the activities planned during the biennium 2020–2021 (Modules 2 to 5 below, detailed in Appendix 4).

II. Start-Up Activities: Mobilizing existing resources and building a network on Mediterranean futures (Phase I: 2018–2019)

Mobilisation des ressources existantes et construction du réseau des avenirs méditerranéens (Phase I : 2018–2019)

10. Consultation. The Secretariat (Plan Bleu) consulted various Mediterranean stakeholders (Plan Bleu and MAP Focal Points, MCSD Members, MAP Partners, experts, etc.), to identify national experiences, expectations, and interested parties to participate in MED 2050 or to support regional, sub-regional or national workshops.

11. In April 2018, a brainstorming workshop was held in Plan Bleu, to frame the operationalization of MED 2050.

12. In June 2018, Plan Bleu organized an International Conference entitled “Environment and development in the Mediterranean, yesterday, today, tomorrow”, co-organized with Serge Antoine Foundation, which brought together more than 130 participants, experts and policymakers from Mediterranean countries, representatives of MAP components, national, European and international institutions, and members of the civil society. Major trends in the Mediterranean were presented and discussed, with MED 2050 objectives at the centre of the discussions.

13. Exchanges and relations with several thematic networks were established in 2018-2019, notably on the themes of the sea, the rural environment and agriculture, and demography. Contacts were also established with the network PROSPER (foresight managers for French public research). Contacts with foresight entities in other Mediterranean countries are ongoing with support from Plan Bleu Focal Points and MCSD members. Interviews are conducted to consolidate collaborations.

14. Project organization. MED 2050 relies on five complementary groups (Appendix 3):·               

  • Plan Bleu team implements MED 2050, in close collaboration with other MAP entities. MAP components provide critical expertise and facilitate synergies with other MAP exercises.·               
  • The scientific committee will be in charge of ensuring the scientific coherence of the project results. Its members, recognized experts, will only meet on few occasions.·               
  • The foresight group will have a fundamental production role throughout the project.·               
  • Ad hoc groups will be assembled for specific workshops, in particular to collect and discuss contrasting visions.·               

The wider MED 2050 foresight network is at the heart of information exchange on the main results, analyses, points of view and questions, using in particular the web platform dedicated to MED 2050 (Box 1). Designed as a dynamic science-policy interface, the network facilitates the mobilization of existing resources, dialogue among stakeholders, and the uptake of research results in policy development. Participation in the network is open and may evolve throughout the project depending on the development of themes and interests. Many stakeholders expressed great interest in being involved to varying degrees in MED 2050 foresight network. Institutions and experts involved in recent and ongoing foresight studies in the Mediterranean, as well as relevant scientific networks and institutions were invited to participate in the network. MAP and Plan Bleu Focal Points were invited to participate and identify national participants and representatives. The network remains to be completed in the South and East of the Basin.

    LBox 1: The MED 2050 web platform, a strategic tool for thinking about the future of the Mediterranean Basin

    The web platform dedicated to MED 2050 was created in June 2018. It will be further developed as the project advances. The platform is a place of experience and documents sharing (studies, events, written documents or videos…) to feed the reflection on the future of the Mediterranean basin by 2050. Once further developed, the MED 2050 platform will include:

    • A space dedicated to the MED 2050 initiative, with an introductory page on the project, its objectives, the successive modules, links to one or more specific consultation platforms, in particular to feed Module 2 on contrasting visions, and a more general work area with the possibility of posting comments, opinions, and ideas… This last section will not function as an open blog; to minimize moderation needs, comments and contributions will only be received by the coordination team not made publicly visible.
    • A space dedicated to foresight works at national and regional levels;

    A space dedicated to foresight tools and their use, with a page on Imagine and Climagine local participatory foresight methods, examples of concrete cases using these methods, etc.

       15. Participatory approach. MAP Phase II, adopted in 1995, states that “information and public participation are essential dimensions of sustainable development and environmental protection”. At its 17th Meeting (Athens, Greece, 4-5 July 2017), the MCSD also called for greater attention to participatory approaches involving broader stakeholder consultations, including through the use of electronic tools (web platforms), in addition to the involvement of national governments. MED 2050 will therefore rely on an innovative and efficient participation strategy, making the initiative open and collaborative. As recommended by Plan Bleu Focal Point (Marseille, France, 28-29 May 2019), participation methods will give a specific place to youth representatives throughout the exercise.

      16. Newsletter. A newsletter will be made available on the web platform. This newsletter will not focus solely on scientific results. It will leave room for questions, sharing of national, regional or international experiences, information on current projects, debate on future options and scenarios. Successive articles on the same subject could be grouped and synthesized to produce thematic booklets. These intermediate products will contribute to the preparation of the final report, and support the communication strategy by targeting a broader audience than the final report.

      17. Calendar. The capitalization, consultation and setting up of the network have required particular attention in 2018–2019. Those activities will be continued during the biennium 2020–2021, to take advantage of new developments and ensure ongoing dialogue among interested parties. Intermediary outputs will be presented to the various bodies of the MAP system.

      III Module 1: Assessing trends, disruptors and weak signals in a new Mediterranean context (Phase 1: 2018–2019)


      18. MED 2050 Module 1 focuses on describing major trends (both qualitative and quantitative), identifying and analysing disruptions and weak signals. Module 1 implementation is underway with a synthesis report expected by the end of the 2018-2019 biennium.

      19. To ensure efficient use of resources, Module 1 takes advantage of synergies with ongoing MAP and non-MAP work, including the Report on the State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean 2019 in development (SoED 2019), the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS), the Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Program (IMAP), the Mediterranean Sustainability Dashboard, the MedECC first assessment report, etc.

      20. Module 1 includes the development of a long-series database to compare trends described in the previous MAP foresight report (2005) and trends actually observed. The 2019 Report on the State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean (SoED 2019) takes stock of environment and development trends in the Mediterranean. Its publication is planned for early 2020, and is the result of a collective effort of the Contracting Parties, MAP components, and external partners. The assessment report being prepared by the MedECC expert network on climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean will also be an essential contribution to MED 2050 Module 1

      21. To develop Module 1, Plan Bleu has formed a partnership with Labex Med, a programme of excellence for the promotion of interdisciplinary research in human and social sciences in the Mediterranean. This partnership is an important opportunity to collaborate with research laboratories, create synergies, and base MED 2050 on a scientifically recognized work, including in its interdisciplinary approach. This partnership gives the opportunity to a postdoctoral researcher to work for one year in Plan Bleu, to go beyond disjoint sectoral or institutional analyses and understand the structuring trends in a systemic framework, ensuring the coherence of hypotheses and putting forward interactions and interdependencies between thematic analyses. The results of this work will be presented for discussion to the foresight group, and will lead to the production of a first MED 2050 product: report on trends, disruptions and weak signals, by the end of 2019 

      IV Module 2: Sharing and comparing contrasting visions across the Mediterranean(Phase II: 2020–2021)

      22. Unlike most analyses identified in the benchmark study, MED 2050 will not rely solely on expert work. Contracting Parties and stakeholders will be consulted on their visions for the future of the Mediterranean (their viewpoints and aspirations), with the aim of sharing potentially contrasting visions across Mediterranean sub-regions.

      23. Two options are envisaged for Module 2 implementation, depending on resources:·

      • Option 1: remote consultation of national and local experts and decision-makers, on their visions of the future of the Mediterranean. This option would allow to collect contrasting visions, using reliable foresight consultation methods, although not reaching all the relevant stakeholders and not allowing for a real dialogue among them. ·
      • Option 2: National and Sub-regional Workshops. Several foresight workshops would be organized in selected sub-regions to engage stakeholders (experts, policymakers, civil society) on their visions for the future of the Mediterranean basin. These workshops could be organized around the following points: discussion in working groups on the results of Module 1 (trends, disruptions, and weak signals), joint foresight exercises allowing for the emergence of contrasting visions of the future, then sharing and consolidating these visions. This option would make it possible to reveal the specificities of sub-regional visions in the Mediterranean region.

      24. Under both options, Module 2 can be opened to a wider consultation relayed by network leaders. Questionnaires will be prepared, disseminated and analysed, using recognized foresight methods, through partnerships with existing network leaders and representative of the main stakeholders and issues in the Mediterranean region, including interested MCSD Members.

      25. Special attention will be given, in this context, to the sea, if possible through a specific workshop. Foresight experts and specialists of the marine environment would on this occasion be brought together to work and bring out contrasting visions of the future of the Mediterranean Sea.


      V Module 3: Reconciling trends, disruptors and weak signals, and contrasting visions to identify a preferred yet realistic scenario (Phase II: 2020–2021)


      26. Under MED 2050 Module 3, the foresight group will be responsible for articulating the results of Modules 1 and 2. Taking into account the different viewpoints of countries, sub-regions and stakeholders, the foresight group will identify common or convergent objectives, and build several contrasting scenarios. As recommended by Plan Bleu Focal Points, this module will consider disruptive scenarios compatible with a sustainability transition. One of the scenarios, identified as the most realistic and desirable (consensual), will serve as a reference (target situation) to develop Module 4 on transition paths.

      VI Module 4: Co-creating transition pathways and strategies in the short, medium and long term (Phase III: 2020–2021)


      27. The central question to which the prospective must be able to answer is not what will be the future in 2050, but that of transitions: how to move from current situations and crises to medium-term action plans and long-term objectives? In their 2019 meeting, Plan Bleu Focal Points encouraged the MAP system to pursue ambitious yet realistic transition objectives (Marseille, France, 28-29 May) MED 2050 Module 4 corresponds thus to a strategic foresight activity to co-design transition paths rooted in reality and operational. Module 4 will help identify major obstacles and early responses when they are still achievable as well as opportunities to achieve a desirable future. It will help anticipate emergencies, avoid repair costs and maximize co-benefits.

      28. Transition paths will take into account the different temporalities. Agreeing on desirable or acceptable futures by 2050 (long-term) will make it possible to identify alternative transition strategies in the medium term (horizon 2030) and to make comparative assessments of their plausibility, as well as to put forward critical investments.

      29. MED 2050 will take into account sub-regional heterogeneity. MED 2050 thus directly intends to feed into future strategies and agendas, including national and sectoral plans.


      VII Mobilization of financial resources


      30. A set of core activities – sufficient to produce the MED 2050 report for COP 22 – will rely solely on technical partnerships, MTF funding and limited co-financing, as proposed in the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 MAP Programmes of Work. The Secretariat through Plan Bleu applied for interdisciplinary research funding, with contrasting success. The necessary co-financing for the first biennium has been mobilized. Additional or more ambitious activities require the mobilization of additional co-financing or complementary partnerships. Although not selected at the final stage, an ambitious interdisciplinary project was for example preselected to the final stage of a H2020 funding, and could serve as a basis for another proposal. Other funding opportunities are under discussion but remain to be completed.

      31. The organization of MED 2050 into modules and packages of activities will help find additional funds associated with explicit activities and products. For example, development or investment banks (World Bank, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank, French Development Agency, etc.) could be interested in obtaining benchmarks to design future investment strategies, by financing activities targeting transition trajectories and critical investments in different parts of the Mediterranean basin. Several preliminary contacts have been established. Presenting the first MED 2050 products should facilitate resource mobilization for the second Phase.

      32.Funding by the MTF and the official support from the Contracting Parties will allow for the establishment of required co-financing and partnerships, while ensuring that MED 2050 products will feed into the specific objective of the MAP Mid-Term Strategy 2016-2021.


      VIII Expected outputs: dissemination of results, knowledge- and capacity building


      33. The chapters of MED 2050 report will be delivered in stages, with a chapter on trends in 2019, a chapter on visions in 2020 and a chapter on transition pathways and critical investments in 2021. The final report will be discussed by MAP system bodies in 2021 with a view to being presented to COP 22 in 2021. The web platform will also be mobilized as a strategic tool to disseminate MED 2050 results, through newsletters and thematic leaflets among other products.

      34. MED 2050 will thus contribute to the visibility of the MAP – Barcelona Convention system. Plan Bleu Focal Points (Marseille, France, 28-29 May 2019), and MCSD members (Budva, Montenegro, 11-13 June) emphasized the importance of developing communication products adapted to a wide audience, including youth.

      35. Pending the identification of additional targeted funding, Plan Bleu could also support interested Contracting Parties in developing national or sub-regional MED 2050 declinations, by presenting MED 2050 results locally or providing technical assistance to integrate those results into foresight studies, strategies and action plans at the sub-regional, national and local levels. Plan Bleu could produce a methodological guide to share experience and good practices. The methodological approach, aiming to bring together Mediterranean initiatives, could be applied on different scales within the Mediterranean and beyond, and could attract and nurture initiatives in other regional seas.