UN and World Bank to fight pollution in the Med

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank will join forces in a $250-million programme designed to support Mediterranean countries that pursue reforms to reduce sea pollution.


The United Nations' environment arm and the World Bank will work on a programme worth over 250 million dollars (158 million euros) to reduce pollution in the Mediterranean, the UN agency said Monday.

The five-year project will focus on boosting reforms and investment in various countries that border the Mediterranean to safeguard biodiversity and stop habitat degradation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said.

The countries eligible for funding include Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey, while the Palestinian Authority will also participate, the Athens-based organisation said.

"Apart from the World Bank, the partnership involves other relevant UN agencies, international financial institutions and bilateral and multilateral donors, making it the largest partnership ever for pollution reduction in the Mediterranean," UNEP coordinator Paul Mifsud said in a statement.

Marine biologists note that rising temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea due to pollution-related causes have led to the migration of a number of species from warmer waters.

Last June, fishermen in Greece were warned to avoid a torpedo-shaped puffer fish from the Red Sea, Lagocephalus scleratus, that can be lethal for humans.

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