In June 2012, over 230 experts from 15 countries convened in Los Angeles for The Mediterranean City: A Conference on Climate Change Adaptation. Participants came from Australia, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Greece, Fiji, Israel, China, and throughout California. By acclamation, the conferees formed the Mediterranean Cities Climate Change Consortium (MC-4), an international network to maximize cross-boundary thinking to create solutions to the problems posed by a warming world.
Two years later, in June 2014, a distinguished group of researchers and agency officials convened in Athens for a follow-up conference, The Mediterranean City Conference: Adaptation Strategies to Global Environmental Change in the Mediterranean City and the Role of Global Earth Observations. At this conference, participants were able to discuss the fledgling MC-4 and several expressed their interest in joining.
Why should anyone join this new network? Participants in the MC-4 from the five Mediterranean regions recognize that, while they may have differing developmental priorities, their urban centers face similar challenges of growing populations and economic needs, which must be balanced with requirements for open spaces, water resources, and threats to human health and food security. Strategic development has to be integrated, both across political boundaries and sector barriers. Only integrated thinking will result in a city that is managed holistically in a livable, connected, sustainable landscape.
The vision of the MC-4 as an international coalition of experts aimed at strengthening government, business, academic, and civil society partnerships across the five Mediterranean-climate regions is still to be achieved. The MC-4 will improve technical tools for adaptation planning, increase the number of cities worldwide involved in climate adaptation planning, and will ensure representation of network cities with climate adaptation planning interests at the regional and global level.
The network is envisioned as providing an extensive set of resources and programming to keep its members one step ahead as they tackle the latest issues in climate change adaptation in cities across Mediterranean-climate regions. When fully realized, MC-4 members would have access to:
We are, therefore, very excited that the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience has taken over the role of secretariat of the MC-4 to take the network to the next level, engaging more participants and bringing greater resources. It is through these kinds of collaborations that the nations of the world will best be able to tackle the greatest challenge facing all of humanity, that of adapting to a climate never before faced by our species.
About the Author: Nancy L.C. Steele is the Executive Director of the Council for Watershed Health, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization and the founding MC-4 Secretariat. Nancy earned her doctorate in environmental science and engineering from University of California, Los Angeles; her M.S. from Arizona State University; and her A.B. from Occidental College. She currently serves on the Board of the Marine Conservation Research Institute, on the Leadership Committee of the Greater Los Angeles Regional Water Management Group, and as an advisor to the Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy.