IGU COMB Annual 2016 Conference ‘Mediterranean sustainability between climate change and human mobility’ Report.

Maria Paradiso, Chair of the IGU Commission on the Mediterranean Basin (COMB) reports.

‘The annual COMB conference ‘Mediterranean sustainability between climate change and human mobility’ has just taken place in Antalya Turkey 1-4 June 2016. It was a very successful Conference for scientific aspects, a very good infrastructure and venue, an interesting fieldtrip showing human pressure on sustainability, marvelous assistance by hosting Colleagues. We set a perfect scientific and friendly glue too. Several young scholars joined us (Lebanon, Algeria, France, Turkey). Gender participation was very well balanced among authors, organizers, chairs.

Conference was co-chaired by Maria Paradiso (Italy) Chair IGU COMB and Barbaros Gonencgil Istanbul University and it developed in cooperation with Turkish Geographical Society. As COMB Chair I can say, in light of IGU Istanbul 2020, that was an excellent cooperation with Turkish Colleagues. COMB jointly with them we realized a formula which on smallest scale was a kind of IGU event. All people were happy as a result of an excellent cooperation and thus on the basis of this experience I forecast a magnificent and productive IGU Istanbul 2020.

The Conference concept was indeed challenging and innovative and as COMB I wish to continue it in further workshops. Annual COMB Conference tried to make a dialogue among physical, human geographers as well as with a few scientists from sisters disciplines. We drafted it to invite Mediterranean geographers (or geographers interested in the Mediterranean area) to address scientific challenges initially proposed by 1. The IPCC Working Group I, contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Climate Change (2013) evaluated assessment of future climate change for Europe and Mediterranean and ISSC ‘Transformative Cornerstones’. We looked for research dealing with climate change and its effects on integrated perspective natural environment and humanity in the Mediterranean region. The complexity of climate change, impacts and adaptation needs to understand the physical, political and economic geography of these processes, and how they relate to other social problems, including persistent poverty, people’s vulnerability included women, children welfare systems and wellbeing, human development and rights as well as duties, social and democratic national cohesion or ‘otherness’, solidarity, conflict, security and militarization, cooperation among countries or Mediterranean shores.

COMB Annual Conference questions were:

How are climate change risks events and reactions experienced in different geographical contexts?
How have they mediated by ethnic, class, gender, political and professional cultures?
What examples and why do we have about successful change/adaptation stories?

The Conference brings together nearly 30 human and physical geographers, planners, hydrologists from across Mediterranean Basin (Algeria, France, Greece, Italy, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey) and beyond since our distinguished colleagues from India, Japan and United States contribute to our challenging endeavor. We are all interested and have expertise in transcending our discipline’s boundaries as well as encountering sisters disciplines and expertise. We are interested to discuss and progress for the scope of constructing and contributing to an hybridized paradigm, concepts, analyses of physical and human geography studies about human condition under climate changing conditions.

The range of accepted papers solicit ideas, findings, proposals on the full range of analysis, modeling of evolutions, assessment of impacts and discussions of adaptation tools, strategies cases. A number of selected presentation will be invited to evolve into chapters for a book proposal to a main international publisher.

Maria is especially grateful to Turkish Geographical Society (Ahmet Ertek) and Department of Geography of Ankara (Ihsan Cicek) for cooperating in this event as well as the new Department of Geography University of Antalya (İhsan Bulut, Tuncer Demir) for friendly supporting our organization. Annick Douguédroit, University of Marseille, former Chair of IGU Commission Climate Change is distinguished member of our conference board. Stan Brunn agreed to serve as a keynote. Sessions were followed by interesting and alive debates.

As COMB we are highly appreciative of Barbaros Gönençgil, Ahmet Ertek and Turkish Colleagues for their forceful and successful cooperation within IGU and in particular COMB since 2010.

We are especially grateful to Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean for its High Patronage to Antalya 2016 Conference and support to IGU COMB, member of PAM Academic Platform. A further cooperation for Conference purposes was established with IGU COMB FP7 Marie Curie project ‘MEDCHANGe’ 612639.
Some numbers from the Conference:

30 people attended from 11 countries including Japan.

28 papers were presented.

Opening speeches by Co-chairs Paradiso, Gonecgil and Hon. OUSLU PAM Turkish Delegation. Keynote Stan Brunn. Position paper: Annick Douguedroit.

Beyond the university sponsors (Ankara University, İstanbul University, Akdeniz University), İstek College (Shuttles), Manavgat Trade and Industry Chamber (Gala Dinner) and Manavgat Municipality (bus for trip) we acknowledge PAM_Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean member (also Deputy of Antalya), FP7 MC IRSES MEDCHANGe (Coord. Maria Paradiso, papers by Alouat, Mangano, Paradiso, Schnell, Spotorno, Tribak).

COMB is part of PAM Academic Platform.
Therefor COMB will be delighted to examine proposals for next years.
We do look forward to meeting you in our next Conferences!’