On July 4 and 5, the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Environment and Emergencies, within the framework of Action C6 – Strategy for replicability and transferability of the lessons learned in the proposal – of the LIFE AMDRYC4 project, Together with the CPMR Intermediterranean Commission, it organized the I MEDITERRANEAN INTERREGIONAL FORUM TO FIGHT AGAINST DESERTIFICATION in the city of Murcia, with the premise of promoting strategies applied to other areas at risk of desertification and drought such as southern Italy, southeastern Greece , and the coastal areas of the Black Sea in Romania. Of course, Spain being one of the countries most exposed to desertification, this application extends to the country as a whole, as well as to other Autonomous Communities with the same challenges and risks to be addressed as those that occur in the Region of Murcia. in an exercise of methodological transfer and results for application in other geographical contexts.
At 12:30, by the hand of Mr. Víctor Serrano Conesa, General Director of the Murcian Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Research and Development (IMIDA), the Forum is inaugurated, welcoming the more than 50 attendees, including they find institutional representatives, of the participating regions, confederations and agrarian associations, political representatives, etc.
Immediately afterwards, María José Martínez, as coordinator of the LIFE AMDRYC4 project at the University of Murcia, opened the event by announcing the objectives that have been pursued from the LIFE project, the importance that the project has had in catalyzing the development of initiatives to integrate strategies to increase carbon in rainfed agricultural soils, proposals for adaptation to climate change that have arisen for Mediterranean rainfed soils to combat desertification and contribute to rural development, and the role that adaptation plays in protecting the ecosystem services generated . All these aspects are those that are sought to be replicated in Mediterranean environments in terms of governance and that are considered essential to transmit to the attendees and participants of the forum.
Subsequently, this first part of the Forum was closed by Antonio Luengo Zapata, Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Environment and Emergencies of the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, in which the need to act was highlighted. with measures to combat desertification and its devastating impacts in environments such as the Region of Murcia, with the Forum and the results of LIFE AMDRYC4 as a great opportunity and starting point to start a working group that marks the lines to follow to promote governance that highlights and values the uniqueness of our Mediterranean environment in the context of the fight against climate change.
At 3:30 p.m., the technical session of the Forum began with Mrs. Elodie Nunes, Executive Secretary of the Intermediterranean Commission (CPRM) and moderator of the event, emphasizing the objective of this forum, which is none other than share challenges and experiences in territories with similar problems, as well as build a working group that allows defining and guiding solutions to the problem of climate change in the European debate. In this sense, the role of the CPRM is fundamental, as it is configured as a platform for technical and political cooperation on the main priorities and policies of the Mediterranean environment, such as generational change in agriculture or the impact of climate change.
After the presentation, Mr. Víctor Manuel Castillo Sánchez, advisor on Desertification of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) of the Government of Spain, took the floor in a speech focused on transmitting and presenting to the attendees the «The National strategy of Fight against Desertification: An instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of the earth’s resources”. As main aspects to highlight, the strategy aims to contribute to the 2030 goal, especially to achieve degradation neutrality, tackles desertification transversally, on a large scale, in a coordinated, proactive way and proposes solutions adapted to the local scale and is linked to a follow-up of its implementation to guarantee the success of the strategy.
Then, María José Martínez Sánchez took the floor again. Project Coordinator, to expose the case of the Region of Murcia, as an example of a territory at serious risk of desertification and the context in which the LIFE AMDRYC4 Project is developed. In this paper the goals that are expected to be achieved through the LIFE project have been explained, where one of the objectives pursued is to define which practices are the most useful and optimal to increase the organic carbon of the soil and its fertility, so problematic in the dry land Mediterranean. The main result of the project will be the obtaining of procedures to determine the carbon baseline and the improvements introduced, and the project’s transfer, replicability and governance work is focused on this aspect.
After this round of presentations, the second part of the forum began, where the problems linked to desertification in the affected Regions were presented by the representatives of the regions. In the first place, Ioannis K. Kalavrouziotis, President of the Regional Council for Research and Innovation, Regional of Western Greece (Greece), intervened, whose intervention was focused on one of the problems associated with areas at risk of desertification: optimization in the use of water resources and the use of the resulting biosolids as sources of organic matter for agricultural soils.
Next, Ms. Celsa Monrós Barahona, General Director of Climate Change of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition of the Generalitat Valenciana (Spain), took the floor. This Autonomous Community, with problems similar to those facing the Region of Murcia, is working on lines of action and research that range from agroforestry systems, through optimization of water resources and improvement of soil fertility.
Celsa Monrós, during the presentation of the strategic lines to combat desertification in the Valencian Community
Ada Cristina Ranieri, Environmental Engineer of the Region of Puglia, Italy, continues to talk about the regional desertification strategy promoted by ASSET (Agency for Sustainable Development of Puglia), in a mostly agricultural environment, which requires adaptation actions due to its high sensitivity to desertification.
Ada Cristina Rainieri during the presentation of the keys to the regional desertification strategy of the Puglia region
The round of presentations ended with the presentation of Mr. Valentin Moldoveanu, Councilor of the county of Tulcea (Romania), a Romanian region of the Danube Delta that is exposed to the factors and risks of desertification, and that has implemented a monitoring system to monitor the effects of desertification and climate change.ge.
After the presentation of the problems and singularities by which each region is affected, a sectoral discussion table was held where both the participants and the attending public were able to make contributions to address the challenges shared between regions and the common solutions to a problem as diverse and complex as adaptation to climate change in a context of pressing desertification.
Some of the topics that were addressed were the need to take initiative and be pioneers in the implementation of measures focused on carbon farming, and the need to directly benefit farmers and the main local agents in the territory. This was configured as one of the main common interests, discussing, among other things, how to establish indicators to assess the carbon farming service, which areas are the most in need of these actions, the quantification and verification frameworks, as well as all the needs in in terms of governance that are necessary on the part of the European Union.
With these interventions, doubts and reflections, the first day of the forum closes, with the expensive conclusion regarding the need to continue with the working group formed and join efforts and knowledge in the short, medium and long term.
IMPACT AND MAIN RESULTS OF THE FORUM
The main impact results achieved with the celebration of the I MEDITERRANEAN INTERREGIONAL FORUM TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION are:
The knowledge generated through the LIFE AMDRYC4 project has been transferred to institutional and technical representatives of other national and international regions affected by problems related to climate change in agriculture in the Mediterranean environment, in order to promote the replicability and adaptation of the measures in other geographical contexts.
Knowledge has been acquired by national government entities to configure and define the Strategy for adaptation to climate change in rainfed agriculture in the Mediterranean area, which will be one of the results of the LIFE AMDRYC4 project.
The preparation of a consensus document of conclusions between the participating regions has been promoted for the formation of a working group focused on proposing joint solutions to the problem of desertification in the Mediterranean area, proposing specific objectives, as well as possible lines of action to it.
With the formation of the group, it is sought to contribute to governance in adaptation to climate change, having defined the roadmap, the main lines of discussion and analysis of alternatives for the continuation of the lessons learned during the project and its integration.