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Lighthouse Chania after sunset

A landmark document: Roadmap for the implementation of the 2021 UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE) in the Mediterranean

Source: based on article UfM stakeholder platform

Following the adoption by the 43 member countries of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in February 2021 of the 2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE), the UfM countries, Co-Presidency, and Secretariat, agreed to create a Roadmap for the implementation of the 2021 Ministerial.

This with a view to produce an in-depth overview and analysis of the joint needs, gaps and opportunities for future support, funding, and implementation for each of the 10 priorities set by the Declaration.

This landmark document includes a sketching out of ongoing initiatives, programmes, and projects, while linking to and formulating promising pathways, processes, and actions to be launched, scaled-up, and promoted from the short to the longer term. The Roadmap also foresees an easy to implement monitoring system; essential to assess progress towards the implementation of the Ministerial at regional level.

The WestMED initiative as a succesful example
In the 2nd Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy, the ministers of the UfM countries recognised that the WestMED Initiative is a successful example of cooperation, focused on clear goals, priorities, and measurable targets and as a catalyst for the development of SBE projects in the region.

The roadmap identifies key elements of good practice that can be replicated at regional level by some other frameworks or initiatives, especially in the topics of governance (i.e. how the actual WestMED Initiative and the macro regional strategy EUSAIR work in terms of planning and decision making) and in the key aspects on project development support through the work of dedicated Technical Groups (for instance, and in the case of the WestMED Initiative: Green shipping, Sustainable Aquaculture(AquaWEST) and the WestMED Maritime Clusters Alliance.

For more information and download of the Ministerial Declaration and the Roadmap documents, visit the Med blue economy platform

Conference room table with micrrophones

The WestMED Iniatiative welcomes the Mauritanian/ Maltese Co-Presidency in 2023

In 2023, Mauritania will co-chair the WestMED Steering Committee along with Malta in accordance with the principle of rotation among the participating WestMED countries (France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania).

The Mauritanian Co-Presidency will keep supporting the six priorities agreed by the countries in 2018 on the common roadmap for the development of a sustainable blue economy:

  • maritime safety and fight against marine pollution,
  • maritime cluster development,
  • skills development and circulation,
  • sustainable consumption and production,
  • biodiversity and marine habitat conservation and restoration
  • Development of coastal communities  and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

At national level, Mauritania has set ambitious targets on blue economy, which includes: the promotion of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the development of a maritime cluster that brings together all the actors of the sea, development of maritime transport and development of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). These topics are already included in the priorities of the new strategy for the sector in Mauritania and are at the heart of the missions of two new agencies created within the department, namely the Agency for Maritime Affairs and the Agency for Inland Fisheries and Fish Farming.

In addition, the Mauritanian National Hub along with Tunisia play an important coordination role in the WestMED technical group on Maritime Clusters Alliance, ensuring and facilitating the cooperation within South-South and also North-South through actions, partnerships and projects.

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

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.

 

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

aldo.drago.sharemed.2022

Sharemed presents Framework for Marine Observations in the Mediterranean

At its flagship internationalisation workshop in Malta on 13/14th September 2022, the MED programme SHAREMED strategic project presented the framework guidelines and proposed actions to organize and synergize the cross-sectoral and cross-border articulation of a marine observation system of systems to assess and address environmental threats in the Mediterranean Sea, connecting marine research to society, and serving the wider interlinked contexts of security and control, monitoring and sustainability, including economic benefits.

Prof. Aldo Drago presented the document and led a dedicated roundtable discussion with expert panelists which included high profile participants from the southern Mediterranean countries.

The discussions dealt with the next steps to engage in collaborative and enduring efforts leading to the co-design and implementation of a regional system for marine observations supported by national endeavours, serving society and seeking a joint and coordinated action plan to address existing challenges and the sustainable use of marine resources in the Mediterranean within the context of the UN Ocean Decade.

SHAREMED is led by Prof. Cosimo Solidoro from the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS, Trieste).

For more info on the workshop and the Framework Document, you can visit the workshop webpages

 

Medban 2022 signature of Memorandum of Understanding with representatives seated at conference table

MEDBAN: six mediterranean maritime clusters join forces under the guidance of the WestMED Assistance Mechanism

Today (July 6, 2022) the COSME MEDBAN (MEDiterranean Blue Acceleration Network) was launched  with the signature of  the Memorandum of Understanding  between its partners in the headquarters of the Fedarzione Del Mare in Rome.

MEDBAN, is a consortium that consists of six clusters: Fórum Oceano (leader), Federazione del Mare, Cluster BIG – Blue Italian Growth, CMIB Cluster Marítimo Illes Balears, Strategis – Maritime ICT Cluster and  Pôle Mer Méditerranée – that have joined forces to build an innovation acceleration ecosystem based on Med Ports as ESG (Environmental, Social, Governmental) blue economy hubs.

The initial idea was born in September 2021 at Seafuture in La Spezia , and evolved through the WestMED created Maritime Clusters Alliance Technical Group into a successful submission  for COSME funding. Now….ready to start in September 2022.

For more information contact Ruben Eiras (WestMED National Hub/ Forum Oceano): portugal@westmed-initiative.ec.europa.eu

conference room filled with people at the WestMED hackathon 22 event in Malta

WestMED Hackathon ’22 – Maritime community gathers in Malta to generate concrete ideas for boosting the blue economy

On June 30 2022, more than 60 representatives from the WestMED Maritime community gathered in Salina Bay on Malta. It was an occasion to develop and discuss project ideas and learn the outcomes of the ‘WestMED in my country’ events.

Each WestMED National Hub presented the key takeaways from their ‘in-my-country’ event that had been organised in the previous eight weeks. The events covered a wide range of maritime topics; ranging from  diversification for fishers in Spain, cluster formation in Mauritania and Blue Economy opportunities for accelerators in Italy to bridging the Blue Skills gap in Malta.

The hackathons themselves consisted of targeted theme-based discussions focused on some of the  main issues that are currently at the top of the WestMED Initiative agenda: aquaculture, tourism, transport and ports, maritime clusters, blue skills and Maritime Spatial planning.

Each hackathon resulted in a number of concrete ideas with suggestions on how to take these ideas forward – also in light of current and upcoming funding opportunities

These ideas will be carefully studied for feasibility and followed-up by the respective National Hubs

You can already download the slides (pdf) used, containing both the main takeaways from the in-my-country events  as well as the main hackathon ideas.

You can also watch the recordings on the hackathon 22 page

For further information, please contact communications@westmed-initiative.ec.europa.eu, or your nearest National Hub

westmed.euromaritime.22- Colin ruel and frederick Herpers presenting

The WestMED initiative was back in Marseilles during Euromaritime 2022

As part of the series of national events organised by the Assistance Mechanism, the French National Hub hosted an “assessment and perspectives” sequence of its activity on 28 June 2022 in the Sea-Research space.

The event was opened by the General secretary for the Sea who ensures the coordination of the French engagement in the WestMed Initiative with the ministry in charge of Foreign Affairs.

The French NH presented the work done over the last four years with a focus on submitted and awarded projects.  To illustrate, lead partners presented how their projects  support the WestMEDpriorities:

  • Ifremer with Prep4Blue  contributes to Ocean Mission 2030 by providing tools and services that will allow co-design and co-implementation of solutions with citizens and stakeholders and also synergies among different contributions to the Mission (development of a Knowledge Ecosystem)
  • Secrétariat Général de la Mer  with the IRA-MAR  project to «  Enhance the cooperation in reducing pollutions and chemical risks  in ports » following the OuestMOPOCO project
  • Plan Bleu, UNEP/MAP RAC , on the recommendations of “Blue Growth Community Interreg Med” which were elaborated during the INTERREG MED Blue Growth Project
  • Pôle Mer Méditerranée with the H2020 GALATEA  project : «  a catalyser for SMEs »  and one granted project PyCHARGE   proposed by PYTHEAS Technology
  • Pôle Mer Méditerranée with a Catalog of solutions for smart Ports « Le French Smart Port in Med »  which was developed with Grand Port Maritime Marseille and the  University of Marseille-Aix en provence
  • La Touline with its offers of services to support upskilling and feed the blue economy sectors needs in properly trained and skilled workers
  • CNRS, presented the H2020 GROOM RI project which is developing the UAV capacities to improve the marine observation and knowledge.

All  presentations made it possible to discuss the support provided in submitting “WestMed” labelled projects, sustainabality of activities (transport, port, tourism) and the adequacy of skills and professions required. It demonstrated the full awareness of the French stakeholders on the WestMED initiative and  willingness to share their best practice experiences to support cooperation in the sub-seabasin with new project-definitions and submissions for upcoming funding opportunities such as Horizon Europe and EMFAF.

The exchanges  and the conclusions were shared with the WestMED community during of the Hackathon event which was held in Malta on 30 June 2022.

 

Download all presentations (zip file)

For more information, contact Frédérick Herpers (WestMED National Hub France): france@westmed-Initiative.ec.europa.eu