abstract team members in circles connected with dotted lines with one standing in focus

The WestMED Assistance Mechanism reinforces its team in 2023

The new phase in the Assistance Mechanism, whereby all three sea basin strategies will be supported by one Assistance Mechanism, is supported by a reinforcement of the current WestMED team.

On the management side, Javier Fernández, previously the WestMED project manager, is now the overall project leader overseeing the implementation of all three sea basin strategies. This role will ensure an effective joint coordination among the three regions, facilitating the exchanges of good practices, creating synergies and increasing the outreach and visibility of the initiative.

Celia Murcia, has become the WestMED sea basin coordinator. She is a blue economy expert  with 10 years of international experience in project management in public institutions, private consultancy, research entities and international organisations within the Blue Economy sectors.

From the National Hubs’ perspective, the new experts joining the WestMed Assistance Mechanism team are:

Lahbib Latrach (Dr) will be the new expert for the Moroccan Hub. He holds a PhD in environment and sustainability and has broad experience in the academic and industrial sectors. Contracted by the Assistance Mechanism, his extensive experience with international sustainability – and blue projects will prove to be a great asset.

Stephanie Bugeja, will support Stephanie Vella at the National Hub Malta. She holds an Msc in Environmental Sciences and has worked in the Maltese energy sector.

Gabriele Galassi, will support Marta Pascual at the National Hub in Spain. Gabriele is a Political Science junior consultant specialized in EU public policy and governance.

 

For an overview of the whole team, visit the Assistance Mechanism page

 

 

 

Announcement poster Salo Halieutis 2023 for WestMED presence

Meet the WestMED Assistance Mechanism at the Salon Halieutis 2023 in Agadir

The salon Halieutis is the international meeting place for the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The WestMED Assistance Mechanism will be present at the stand of the European Union where you can meet the WestMED Hub representatives from Morocco and Mauritania.

It will offer a unique opportunity to learn about this Initiative that is funded by the European Commission and aims to strengthen a sustainable blue economy in the Western Mediterranean.

Inquire about matchmaking and funding opportunities for sustainable maritime related projects or talk about the latest policy developments that might affect you.

 

Join our Workshop:
“L’initiative WestMED  : Opportunités pour renforcer l’économie bleue durable en Méditerranée occidentale”

On Thursday 2 February, the WestMED Initiative will organize a workshop to give you an overview of the WestMED activities and how this could benefit you.

Agenda

16:00 – 16:20 WestMED Initiative – Sustainable Blue Economy in the western Mediterranean

16:20 – 16:30 Community of Practice for Maritime Spatial Planning for the MED

16:30 – 16:40 EMFAF calls for flagships projects (DG MARE)

16:40 – 17:00 Pitch session Blue Economy projects funded by the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and other EU funding calls

  1. REBOOT MED – Recovering, Experiencing and Boosting eco-tourism in the WestMed
  2. AFRIMED: Algal Forest Restoration In the MEDiterranean Sea
  3. E-FishMed project: virtual academy on fisheries inspection and control

17:00 – 17:30 Networking session and bilateral meetings

 

There is no need to make a reservation, but be early as seats are limited.

Location: Salon Halieutis 2023, Agadir |  Pole International | Union Européenne | Stand B51 B54

For more information on the salon visit the event website

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Il n’est pas nécessaire de faire une réservation, mais il faut s’y prendre tôt car les places sont limitées.
Lieu : Salon Halieutis 2023, Agadir | Pôle International | Union Européenne | Stand B51 B54

 

MSP community of practic kick-off meeting with participants seated around a rectangular table

The Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) for the Mediterranean has been launched!

Brussels, January 26, 2022. During the Hackathon organised by the WestMED Assistance Mechanism in Malta on June 30th 2022 and a couple of meetings under MSPMED project, the relevant stakeholders discussed about the creation of an open Community of Practice for exchange on MSP in the framework of the WestMED Initiative and supported by CINEA and DG MARE.

In the Mediterranean, there are many policy drivers for the implementation of Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning at regional, sub-regional and national levels. These include the MSP Directive implementation for the European Union Member States, the Ministerial declaration on Blue Economy of the Union for the Mediterranean and the Conceptual Framework for MSP developed by UNEP/MAP promoting a common approach to MSP as a key process for planning and managing the marine space in line with the provisions of the ICZM Protocol. Still, the MSPglobal pilot project in the Western Mediterranean Sea promoted by UNESCO-IOC and the European Commission allowed the creation of a network of experts and the publication of specific technical reports and recommendations.

Given the existing policy framework and the broader political will to commonly work on MSP, there is a shared interest to set an MSP Community of Practice in the Mediterranean, in the framework of the WestMED Initiative. The MED-MSP-CoP will be initially focused on the Western Mediterranean, being however open to experts and observers from the whole Mediterranean..

The main objective of the MED-MSP-CoP is to establish a permanent communication and dialogue across borders between experts on MSP (i.e. planners, technical experts, researchers), and to exchange knowledge and relevant experiences in the region, so as to reach a shared perspective on topics of common interest on MSP and enhance the cooperation between the north and the south of the Mediterranean.

On January 26, 2023, CINEA and DG MARE officially launched the Community of Practice during the kick-off meeting in Brussels where the experts discussed the structure and the action plan for the next year.

Thanos Smanis, WestMED expert and member of the MSP Assistance Mechanism, highlights “the instant willingness by MSP experts to mobilise and establish a Community of Practice on MSP for the MED, for joint dialogue and cooperation, demonstrates the shared perception that this will significantly support the creation of a regional framework and vision whereby all stakeholders will be needed.”

Next to the the Community of Practice on MSP, three technical-/ work groups have been formed under the WestMED Initiative;  Sustainable Transport-Green Shipping, the AquaWEST technical group on aquaculture and the Maritime Clusters Alliance.

More information on the Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) for the Mediterranean : https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/news-events/news/two-days-key-developments-maritime-spatial-planning-2023-01-25_en

laptop with mock-up of WestMED infographic displayed on the screen

Four years of practical support to a Sustainable Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean

In the past 4 years (2018-2022), the WestMED Assistance Mechanism has accomplished a lot to be proud of.

It helped secure 50 million euros in funding alone for all kinds of different projects that contribute to the WestMED Initiative’s main objective to develop and strengthen a sustainable blue economy in the region.

It also helped drive discussions between stakeholders from the northern and southern shore on key maritime topics such as green shipping, sustainable aquaculture, project funding, maritime clusters and blue skills. Primarily, through the creation of technical-/ work groups and organizing thematic events.  It has also been at the forefront of starting a Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning for the Mediterranean which had its kick-off meeting in January 2023.

For an overview of the work done, the Assistance mechanism has produced both a 3-page Executive Summary and an infographic.

Both are available now for download.

Executive summary

Infographic

 

Moving forward (2022-2024).

After positive reviews, the European Commission has agreed to continue this initiative for at least another two years.

With a new approach by the European Commission, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism will team up with the Assistance Mechanisms of the other EU sea basin strategies (Atlantic Action Plan/ CMA Black Sea) to further explore and capitalise on synergies related to common maritime themes, allow for addressing relevant cross-sea basin project (funding) proposals and provide coordinated policy feedback.

diverse people putting their hands together to sympolise teamwork

The WestMED, Atlantic and Black Sea Assistance Mechanisms have joined forces

A unique Assistance Mechanism has been formed to help support the implementation of the three EU-sea basin strategies: the Western Mediterranean (WestMED), the Atlantic and the Black Sea.

It means that the WestMED Assistance Mechanism has now become part of a larger consortium to better identify and build on the synergies between all three sea basins. It will do so by exchanging best practices and organizing national and regional events with themes that have a clear cross sea basin relevance such as blue skills, blue investments, green shipping, and sustainable aquaculture. This new approach will ensure the specific needs of each sea basin while facilitating synergies and increasing outreach and visibility.

As has been done in the previous years, this new joint Assistance Mechanism will continue its networking expertise to initiate project partnerships and help gain access to funding with proposal development support. However, this time drawing from a much larger database of stakeholders and pool of experts.

The EASME/ CINEA Maritime datahub will be further developed to contain even more projects that contribute to the different sea basin strategies, and cooperation will be intensified with projects like BlueInvest and the Maritime Spatial Planning Assistance Mechanism.

The teams that ran the three previous Assistance Mechanisms, will largely remain in place in this new joint Assistance Mechanism to ensure smooth continuation and consistency.

The National Hubs in Spain, Portugal and France will be at the forefront of this new synergies approach as they will now focus simultaneously on both the WestMED and the Atlantic

This 3- Sea Basin Assistance Mechanism is funded by the European Commission and will run from 2022-2024.

 

World Bank Report: Blue Economy Offers Opportunities for Sustainable Growth in Tunisia

Tunis, January 25, 2023 – With support from the World Bank, in June 2022, Tunisia launched its first report on the status of the blue economy. The report, titled in French “L’économie bleue en Tunisie: Opportunité pour un développement intégré et durable de la mer et des zones côtières” (The Blue Economy in Tunisia: An Opportunity for Integrated and Sustainable Development of the Sea and Coastal Areas), recommends initial guidelines for a national strategy in this area. Spearheaded by the Ministry of the Environment and the Secretariat General for Maritime Affairs, the report is the product of extensive consultation with stakeholders in the blue economy, including the public and private sectors, researchers, and various civil society organizations.

Tunisia has more than 1,300 km of coastline. Its coastal areas are home to 7.6 million people (more than 66% of its population) who depend heavily on coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods. The report identifies avenues for sustainable development of the blue economy through tourism, fishing and aquaculture, maritime transport, ocean-based renewable energy, marine biotechnology, and other activities.

The blue economy offers an opportunity for sustainable development and wealth creation for Tunisia through sustainable use of marine and coastal resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and healthy marine and coastal ecosystems,” said Alexandre Arrobbio, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “I welcome the Government’s commitment to developing the blue economy in Tunisia as part of its next development plan,” he added.

The report identifies three strategic objectives: (i) promotion of economic growth of maritime activities (ii) social inclusion and gender equality, and (iii) sustainability of natural resources and ecosystem services. To achieve these objectives, five areas of intervention are proposed: establishment of institutional governance; promotion of resources and financing mechanisms; support for job creation, poverty alleviation, the inclusion of vulnerable groups, and gender mainstreaming; development of knowledge of marine and coastal capital; and strengthening of resilience to climate change.

Following the publication of this report, the Tunisian Government and the World Bank will continue their cooperation for the development of the blue economy in Tunisia. The World Bank has mobilized the PROBLUE Trust Fund to undertake the second phase of technical assistance, supporting a roadmap for the development of the blue economy in Tunisia. In the second phase of assistance to Tunisia, the Bank will conduct analyses and offer advice on institutional policies and promotion of public and private investment, in addition to providing support for strategic and operational dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

 

World Bank Blue Economy Financing Program for African Countries

This report on the blue economy in Tunisia comes at a time when the World Bank Group has just announced a new $13.5 million blue economy program that will catalyze financing and provide an operational response to development challenges in coastal and marine areas of the African continent, including Tunisia. The program seeks to address the challenge that coastal countries face in managing their coastal and marine resources to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty, while adapting to the effects of climate change

 

 

For more information contact:  Mr. Salem Miladi (WestMED National Hub Tunisia)

announcement poster westmed commission report

Commission report on the implementation of the Western Mediterranean initiative

Source: European commission

 

The Commission has adopted a report on the outcomes of the Western Mediterranean (WestMED) initiativeSearch for available translations of the preceding which has been in place for 5 years. Since 2017, five EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta), and five southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) have worked together on their shared interest for the Mediterranean around three goals: increase maritime safety and security, promote sustainable blue economy, growth and jobs, and preserve ecosystems and biodiversity. The WestMED initiative has proved to be a useful intergovernmental platform for promoting sustainable blue economy sectors across the Western Mediterranean. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the functioning and governance of the initiative, as most meetings had to be virtual. Nevertheless, great progress was made, justifying its continuation.

Key outcomes of the WestMED initiative

The Commission drafted the report after careful analysis of the feedback received from the involved parties and an independent external review study.

The WestMED initiative has demonstrated progress and success since its creation. Although certain aspects of the initiative can be improved under its current governance, no major changes will be required, as it has been deemed a successful initiative that has

  • served as a forum for dialogue and soft diplomacy
  • led to an increase in cooperation and partnerships
  • provided its members with project support (especially when applying for funding)
  • enabled knowledge sharing and exchanges
  • set-up technical working groups and alliances (on green shipping, sustainable aquaculture and clusters) and
  • broadened its cooperation with other Mediterranean countries

Three recommendations for the future

Three recommendations were made in the report:

  1. The initiative and its accompanying framework for action should remain as they are.
  2. The WestMED Assistance Mechanism (operational, logistical and administrative support financed through the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund) should address issues such as increasing visibility; better use of project branding and improved metrics for evaluating the implementation of the initiative.
  3. The priorities in relation to regional/international policies should be reviewed, taking account of the second Union for Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on a sustainable blue economy.

Background

In April 2017, the Commission adopted the Communication on the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western MediterraneanSearch for available translations of the preceding link (‘WestMED initiative’ or ‘the initiative’) along with its framework for action. The initiative was formally endorsed in November the same year by the ten participating countries: five EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta), and five southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia). A number of priorities and targeted actions were set, including  coastguard functions cooperation, maritime safety and response to marine pollution rescue, strategic research and innovation, maritime clusters development, skills development and circulation, maritime spatial planning, biodiversity and marine habitat conservation, sustainable fisheries and coastal community development.

The initiative is a direct outcome of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue EconomySearch for available translations of the preceding link adopted at the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) conference held in November 2015. The initiative also builds on years of ‘5+5 Dialogue’ between the ten participating countries.

The Commission had an obligation to report on the implementation five years after the launch of the WestMED initiative.

Next steps

Following the presentation to the Council and European Parliament, this report will be presented at the Ministerial meeting of the WestMED in 2023, in Malta. During this meeting, the countries can choose to reconfirm or update the priorities included in the current 2017 framework for action.

More information

Report on the implementation of the Western Mediterranean initiative in all official EU languages

Synergies to address pollution in the Mediterranean: REMPEC hosts the first Coordination Meeting on the Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031)

The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) is hosting the First Coordination Meeting on the Mediterranean Strategy for the Prevention of, Preparedness, and Response to Marine Pollution from Ships (2022-2031), in its premises in Malta between 29 November and 1 December 2022.

Gathering representatives from Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, as well as representatives from relevant regional and international organisations, this Meeting will mark the beginning of a new era of cooperation for the implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031) by defining the priority actions for the 2024-2025 and beyond.

Addressing the current environmental challenges at sea, the Mediterranean Strategy is based on months of collective coordinated work to present an effective joint Action Plan and a vision for the whole Mediterranean “A clean and healthy Mediterranean marine and coastal environment with a sustainable and pollution free maritime sector, supported by a rigorous enforcement system and strengthened multi-sectoral cooperation, for the benefit of present and future generations”.

The Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031), at the heart of the meeting, aims to provide guidance to the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention at the horizon 2031, to cooperate on the prevention, preparedness and response to marine pollution from ships.

It sets seven Common Strategic Objectives (CSOs) detailed below apply to the Mediterranean region as a whole, and Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, alongside the various organisations and institutions of the Mediterranean, each having a role to play in achieving these objectives. As a a matter of fact, meeting these objectives required a collective and coordinated effort, which is in the centre of the discussions.

  • CSO 1 – Prevent, prepare for, and respond to operational, illegal and accidental oil and HNS pollution from ships
  • CSO 2 – Promote and support the development and implementation of innovative global solutions to mitigate and respond to climate change
  • CSO 3 – Reduce and monitor air emissions from ships to a level that is not harmful to the marine environment, or the health of the coastal population of the Mediterranean
  • CSO 4 – Prevent and reduce litter (in particular plastic) entering the marine environment from ships, in order to limit the environmental, health, and socio-economic impact of marine litter in the Mediterranean
  • CSO 5 – Eliminate the introduction of non-indigenous species by shipping activities
  • CSO 6 – Achieve a well-managed safe and pollution free Mediterranean, with integrated marine spatial planning and designation of special areas, where shipping activity has a limited impact upon the marine environment
  • CSO 7 – Identify and understand collectively emerging issues related to pollution from ships in the Mediterranean, and define required actions to address issues identified


This Meeting also aims to report and assess the progress made in the  implementation of the Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031), to define priority actions and propose related activities for 2024-2025, to define roles and responsibilities for the implementation of the proposed activities and  establish operational and strategic synergies, through specific partnership agreements.


This Meeting is the first of a series of five (5) meeting to be organised every
two years over the next ten years. In 2027, The Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031) and its Action Plan will be reviewed in 2027, based on an analysis of the progress of its implementation and on the outcome of discussions on emerging issues.

This mid-term review and evaluation will be supported by a Study on trends and outlook of marine pollution from ships in the Mediterranean compiling knowledge about maritime traffic and its impact on the marine environment focusing on the seven CSOs. Such a Study will becompared to the study published in 2020 to support the elaboration of the Mediterranean Strategy (2022-2031).

 

Full press release

More information visit the REMPEC website or contact Marie Helderle (communication and media officer) vis@rempec.org | +356 21 337 296/7/8

WestMED in my country Portuguese event with conference room and Javier Fernández presenting on screen on screen

Maritime Clusters take center stage at WestMED’s National Event in Lisbon

As part of the ‘WestMED In My country’ campaign, organised by the WestMED Assistance Mechanism, the Portuguese National Hub focused its national event on “How Clusters will accelerate a sustainable Blue Med Economy.” This took place on 28 September 2022 in the Instituto Hidrográfico in Lisbon.

The event was opened by Orlando Costa, Head of Cooperation Unit, Directorate General for Marine Policy (DGPM) and National Coordinator of WestMED initiative. This was followed by Ruben Eiras, Secretary-General of Fórum Oceano, Portugal Blue Economy Cluster and WestMED’s Portuguese National Hub.

During the event the main achievements and challenges of the WestMED Initiative in general as well as its progress in Portugal were presented by Javier Fernández from WestMED’s central team as well as mr. Eiras and mr. Costa.

The way clusters could foster innovation ecosystem and attract funding for the blue economy med economy was presented, with the concrete example of MedBAN – Mediterranean Blue Acceleration Network Eurocluster project, led by Fórum Oceano with the participation of six Blue Med Economy Clusters.  The initiative for this unique cooperation was developed under the WestMED Cluster Alliance . The way ports could act as blue economy hubs was also presented with 2 concrete examples the AspBAN – Atlantic Smart Ports Blue Acceleration Network project and Portugal Blue Hubs Network.

Finally, the importance of cooperation and public and private funding were discussed in a panel, with the participation of representatives of Algarve and Alentejo Regions, and a Portuguese Venture Capital firm.

The word cooperation was a key word during the event and all participants are looking forward for the new cycle of the WestMED initiative.

Watch the full recording on Forum Oceano’s YouTube channel

WestMED portuguese national event 2022
For more information – contact the WestMED National Hub Portugal
séminira cluster CMT-BIG2(sept-22) - with panel behind a table and screen in the back

Explorer la création d’un cluster maghrébin au Conférence MEDBLUE sur l’économie bleue durable

Les clusters maritimes tunisien (CMT) et italien (BIG) ont organisés une journée de travail et une journée de visite sur le terrain à Tunis le 29 et 30 septembre 2022.

La première journée organisée en présentiel et avec des invités en ligne a été consacrée au renforcement de la coopération entre les deux clusters, à la présentation des gaps technologiques entre la rive nord et la rive sud de la Méditerranée, à la valorisation et digitalisation des ports de Livourne et Rades comme hubs logistiques stratégiques, les blue skills pour développer l’employabilité, la recherche et l’innovation et la gouvernance pour l’économie bleue dans la région.

Plusieurs autres thèmes ont été discutés et concernent la digitalisation des ports de plaisance, le développement de la ligne triangulaire (Tunisie, Malte, Italie) pour les mini-croisières, le développement du pescatourisme dans les ports de plaisance, le partenariat pour la bio-économie Green § blue et un rapport sur le workshop du 26,27 et 28 septembre à Tunis sur  MSPMED.

Plus de 50 personnes ont assisté à cette journée en plus des connections et interventions en ligne. La présence du Hub National Mauritanie, d’un représentant algérien, marocain et libyen a permis d’examiner l’état d’avancement de la création de cluster dans chaque pays et la création du cluster maritime maghrébin.

La journée du 30 septembre est consacrée à la visite de l’Office de la Marine Marchande se des Ports avec l’état des lieux de l’accord de partenariat de l’office et l’autorité portuaire de Livourne, la visite du port de la Goulette et du port de Rades avec des réunions avec les différents intervenants.

 

Pour plus d’infomations: Salem Miladi – Hub National Tunisie