The transition to a green economy requires nothing short of a major, structural transformation of economic models, domestic and global. The scale and pace of the change needed and the high level of uncertainty require bold commitments, cooperation, innovation and experimentation across sectors, stakeholders and countries – a fierce challenge for the globe, well beyond the shores of the Mediterranean.
Against this background, this study takes stock of how Southern Mediterranean Countries are moving towards green economy models in strategy and implementation. What are the context-specific opportunities, challenges, risks and tradeoffs involved in green economy transitions in the region – and what role can the European Union (EU) play in managing them? How palpable is the promise of economic development that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable – and how can the EU’s “green deal diplomacy” itself be equal, inclusive and productive?
The study addresses these questions through four individual contributions, each on a specific domain related to the green economy. The first chapter explores green industrial development, a multi-sectoral strategy for achieving more energy and material-efficient production and consumption processes that has been recognised as a key element of sustainable development. The second chapter turns to the circular economy, a concept that is attracting increasing attention in the EU as a purported model for a sustainable and resilient economic system, where economic growth is decoupled from use of resources through the reduction and recirculation of natural resources. The third chapter explores renewable energy, a sector where the region’s comparative advantage is driving many governments’ national strategies and priorities regarding green growth. The final chapter turns to urban eco-innovation practices, in recognition of the fact that around 70% of the Mediterranean population lives in urban areas and that 86% of new population growth is predicted to occur in cities of the developing world.