Twenty-one countries share the Mediterranean's coastline with no single country responsible for its environmental deterioration or its protection. They are collectively responsible for both. Over four decades, the environmental dimension of Europe's policy toward its Mediterranean neighbors has become increasingly prominent. The central place of environmental projects in the Union for the Mediterranean, launched in July 2008, is the clearest indication of the growing place of the environment in Mediterranean cooperation. Growing public and political awareness of environmental problems in the region argue for a more concerted approach, embracing United Nations, European Union, and national initiatives—and a more “singular” approach to shared challenges.

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