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The way ahead
The synthesis presented in this exploratory more cautious country-by-country approach. It
report is a regional snapshot of priority link- may be too soon for broader regional consulta-
ages between environment and security in tions with core national interests at stake or at
the Southern Mediterranean region. It reflects least on the table.
approaches and methodologies used by inter-
national organizations in other regions of the The results of these more in-depth assessment
world, the opinion of an independent expert will include national priorities – which may be
analyst and the interactions of a group of ex- regional priorities as well and hotspots where,
perts at the MEDSEC Barcelona workshop in (a) action is needed to reduce or eliminate
March 2009 discussing environment and se- security risks which concern environment-
curity issues, and participating in a mapping related problems, or (b) environmental coop-
exercise. We lay no claim to being exhaustive eration can strengthen overall cooperation and
but seek with this report to initiate debate on dialogue between countries and communities.
relevant issues in the region, while mobilising Sometimes, just talking about the issue or
players at all levels – international, regional putting a dot on a map may advance what has
and local – to act in order to solve some of the not moved for years earlier.
problems.
At some stage the results of the national assess-
As a next step, we will need to look much more ments and follow-up activities will need to be fed
closely, to shift assessments to the national into a regional work programme both as inputs
and local level. For this we propose a partici- to diplomacy and also more hands-on projects
patory environment and security assessment contributing to the resolution of environment
and mapping approach with in-country con- and security problems. The text box below out-
sultations backed by strong government impli- lines what the next steps might look like in con-
cation (involving different sectors such as the crete terms. The MEDSEC partnership would
environment, natural resources, foreign and focus primarily on assessment and communica-
internal affairs, health, defence and national tion to ensure these issues are mainstreamed,
security), as well as academics and civil soci- and above all remain accessible to non-special-
ety. Ideally neighbours ought to be informed ists both at the institutional and individual level,
and involved too, but given the highly complex to ensure greater understanding and provision
political relations in the region we propose a for environment and security issues.

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