This week the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the city of Malaga – where its offices are located. This event has allowed us to celebrate and highlight the incredible work of the Centre, which over the past two decades has bridged science, policy, management and action on the ground to conserve nature and accelerate the transition to sustainable development in the Mediterranean.

This event has allowed us to go beyond the celebration! It was also an opportunity to share with other Committee Chairs from the region, such as the Chair of the Spanish Committee, Roberto Lozano, and other IUCN Councillors. This event is also an opportunity to pay tribute to 20 years of work to all those who have contributed to the sustainable development of the Mediterranean.

The French Committee has always believed in Mediterranean cooperation – mare Nostrum – and has been a key player in this field. From 1998, with the organisation of a workshop in Fontainebleau on the occasion of IUCN’s 50th anniversary, through the Mediterranean working group, to the Marseille congress, where we reaffirmed our priorities for the Mediterranean: Nature-Based Solutions, Oceans and Green Lists.

Likewise, the role of the regions has been indispensable for the development of the Mediterranean. As mentioned in the round table I led on “The role of the regions in the governance of nature conservation”, local authorities are essential players in i) the preservation of biodiversity through their regulatory powers, ii) the planning and development of the territory through the development and implementation of appropriate regional schemes, and iii) the link between local, national and international challenges.

In difficult times, such as those we have been going through in recent years, it is necessary to evaluate any strategy that helps the preservation of nature and after this formidable meeting, I am confident that we are ready to build for the next 20 years with IUCN and its members.

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