The MedCLIVAR initiative was first proposed at the 2003 European Geophysical Society assembly in Nice, where it began its activities with the organization of a dedicated session. The following year an initial MedCLIVAR workshop was held in Rome with the support of the European Science Foundation (ESF). In January 2005 MedCLIVAR was endorsed by the international CLIVAR Office, after the submission of a position paper. A few months later the MedCLIVAR-Research Network Project was approved by ESF for the period 2006-2011 under the support of funding agencies in 12 countries. Activities included organization of workshops, schools, scientist exchange programme and a final conference. After the end of the ESF support, MedCLIVAR is continuing its activities as a scientific network coordinated by a steering group and by organizing conferences, meetings and editorial initiatives.