Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), created a strong message that forests are key to addressing the climate change question. Being a hotspot of climate change, the Mediterranean region has paid particular attention to the role that its forests play on climate change.
Forest restoration projects used to focus on the establishment of single or a small number of species. This simplified approach, overlooking the ecological restoration principles, hampers the effectiveness of ecosystem recovery. Recently, a shift away from large-scale monospecific afforestation projects, to a holistic approach with multiple objectives, combining several socioeconomic and environmental benefits is observed.
Forests, being natural resources on public and private lands, have embedded in them a diverse range of social innovation cases that have contributed to the development of the community in a sustainable and stable way.
The Mediterranean region is a hot-spot of climate change. The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies the Mediterranean as one of the regions most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming. By 2100, the Mediterranean climate is predicted to experience an average temperature increase of 2°C to 4°C.
The vision of this Sixth MFW was to show the essential role of Mediterranean forests in climate change mitigation, natural resources, and biodiversity balance as well as the specific challenges these forests face. The Sixth MFW focused more on how Mediterranean forests contribute to the fulfilment of the Paris Agreement and global change commitments, including their role in facilitating sectoral climate change adaptation in areas such as water, agriculture, and cities.
Securing the sustainable management and use of natural resources in a context of high social and ecological fragility (e.g., social change, globalization) and providing quality employment for rural communities, are two of the main challenges for sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.
The importance attached to scaling-up adaptation and and reinforcing adaptation planning is clearly recognized in the Paris Agreement. The INDCs/NDCs of many developing countries include adaptation planning as a priority. This session highlighted perspectives from countries, support agencies and funds on the formulation and implementation of the NAPs process, and provide an outlook on future needs.
In Lebanon, afforestation has been the primary focus to combat desertification and achieve/respond to national restoration goals. Although afforestation projects implicitly englobe results that contribute to the combat against climate change, most of these projects were not designed to explicitly implement mitigation and adaptation measures.
The State of Mediterranean Forests 2018 (http://www.fao.org/3/CA2081EN/ca2081en.PDF) establishes that tourism is one of the primary drivers of environmental degradation, along with urbanization, transport, business and industry, and agricultural developments.
Forest fires are a major threat for Mediterranean ecosystems and population in our region. Usually the focus on suppression and preparedness activities is higher for the general population and also at political level. Nevertheless, at technical level, both prevention and post fire restoration are considered at the same level as suppression and preparedness as well as key factors to manage the forest fire problem in our countries.
In the Mediterranean, Forest and Land Restoration (FLR) is recognized as an effective option to achieve commitments under the Rio Conventions, the Agenda 2030, as well as the United Nations Forum on Forests.