Mediterranean Initiative

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Human societies and economies depend on the biosphere's natural capital and its many life-supporting ecological services. As demand on and scarcity of these ecological resources increases, economic success can no longer be secured without carefully managing and tracking the availability and consumption of natural capital.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mediterranean region. For more than two years, the region has been rocked by economic crises resulting from overextension of financial resources. But Greece, Italy and other Mediterranean countries face another yawning deficit—an ecological deficit—that poses deep-seeded risks to the region’s long-term success.

Virtually every country in the Mediterranean region consumes more ecological resources than local ecosystems can replenish. To cover the widening gap between supply and demand, the region is increasingly relying on global resources, of which there are less. Meanwhile, growing competition for such resources undermines the region's ability to secure them elsewhere.

Indeed, while the Mediterranean's own ecological deficit has been growing, its relative income (compared to world average) has been declining, weakening the region's position to access the limited resources around the globe. The situation is unsustainable, and risks Mediterranean countries’ long-term economic security and their capacity to guarantee social well-being for their citizens.

Global Footprint Network’s Mediterranean initiative, launched in June 2010 with the support of MAVA Foundation and in partnership with Plan Bleu, WWF's Mediterranean Programme and UNESCO Venice Office, is an effort to bring leaders together to develop a regional approach to managing resource consumption and availability.

In June 2012, Global Footprint Network published the initiative's key findings in Why Are Resource Limits Now Undermining Economic Performance? Global Footprint Network released its full report, Mediterranean Ecological Footprint Trends, on October 1, 2012 at a two-day conference in Venice, Italy, attended by representatives of 12 nations. The event and report received wide regional media coverage, including in Le Monde, La Stampa, and RAI TV.