Articles

Libya takes a major step towards a national blue economy strategy with African Union support

A National Stakeholders Consultation and Validation workshop for the National Blue Economy Strategy in Libya has been held under the auspices of the African Union from May 13-15, 2024 in Mombasa, Kenya.

Many ministries incl transport and maritime transport, economy and trade, the oil sector, the Libyan Ports Authority, the Ministry of Tourism, the General Secretariat, the National Aquaculture Project in Libya, and other sector representatives, participated in this workshop dedicated to the blue economy in Libya.

The workshop was rich with lecturers and many experts from different countries of the world. Leonardo Manzari (WestMED National Hub Italy) and Matteo Bocci (WestMED and EU Sea Basin Assistance Mechanism central team) also participated and shared valuable information on the blue economy in Africa with a focus on Libya.

Ali Shagrune (Libyan National Coordinator and member of the WestMED Steering Committee) and Masauda Abuarosha (WestMED Centre Libya) both were pivotal for the success of this event.

This workshop is part of an initiative by the African Union aimed at supporting a number of member states in Africa to develop blue economy strategies. This is made possible with funding by the Kingdom of Norway.

The workshop also jumpstarted discussions between the WestMED and the African Union with an open invitation to cooperate by Dr Hellen Guebama from the Union’s InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR)

See agenda

Poster announcing EU sea basins strategies presence at EMD 2024

EU Sea Basins Strategies featured at the European Maritime Day 2024

Set against the picturesque backdrop of Svendborg, Denmark, this annual event, hosted at the International Maritime Academy (SIMAC), promises to be enlighting for the maritime world.

On May 30-31, EMD 2024 will attract Ocean Leaders from across Europe to converge, deliberate, and establish collaborations focused on addressing pressing challenges and promising opportunities within the blue economy and marine ecosystem.

Kickstarting the festivities on May 30, the High-Level event on the main stage will feature prominent policymakers, including Charlina Vitcheva, Director General at DG MARE, along with representatives from Denmark, France, Portugal, and Moldova. This session, scheduled from 10:30 to 11:45, will spotlight the remarkable success of the EU Sea Basin Strategies as pivotal drivers of the Blue Economy, offering valuable insights into fostering sustainable maritime growth.

Later that day, from 15:00 to 16:15, a workshop led by the Sea Basins Assistance Mechanism (that includes the WestMED, Atlantic and Black Sea) will disclose synergies amongst EU « blue » initiatives. Expert speakers from EU4OCEAN, Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership, and the Energy Transition Partnership for EU fisheries and aquaculture will shed light on collaborative pathways for sustainable marine development.

EMD 2024 serves as an interactive in-person conference and exhibition. A place where businesses, governments, NGOs, academia, and EU citizens connect and discover. Through engaging discussions, workshops, and pitch sessions, stakeholders actively help shape the maritime agenda, tackle current challenges, and chart a course for future opportunities.

 

EU Sea Basin Synergies Workshop info and registration  (Registration for the conference required)

EMD2024 info and registration

Leonardo Manzari and Irene Alonso at UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

WestMED goes full Mediterranean at the UfM stakeholder conference 2024

The WestMED Initiative actively participated in the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, which took place in Athens on February 19 and 20, 2024.

Background
The WestMED Initiative follows up on the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue Economy endorsed by the Union for Mediterranean (UfM) which took place on the 17 November 2015, inviting the participating countries to explore the added value and feasibility of appropriate maritime strategies at sub-regional level, and build on the experience of the 5+5 Dialogue.

In October 2016, Foreign Affairs Ministers from Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia encouraged further work on an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy, alongside the UfM Secretariat.

In the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (2021), Ministers “welcome the successful completion of the launch of the ‘Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean’ (WestMED)”, and “recognise both the WestMED initiative as successful examples of cooperation, focused on clear goals, priorities and measurable targets and as a catalyst for the development of sustainable blue economy projects in the region”.

The endorsing countries pursue the same priorities under the UfM Working Group and the WestMED Steering Committee: fostering the promotion of the blue economy, achieving a safer maritime space and improving the maritime governance.

Conference involvement
On the occasion of the 2nd UfM Blue Economy Stakeholder Conference, the WestMED Initiative assisted the UfM both in terms of organization and participation.

At  institutional level, the new WestMED Portuguese Co-Presidency represented by Ms. Marisa Lameiras da Silva, Director General for Maritime Policy in Portugal participated as one of the key speakers in the session of marine renewable energy, providing the success case of Portugal developing offshore energy and its potential replicability in the Mediterranean.

From the Commission side, Ms. Delilah Al Khudhairy, Director for Maritime Policy and Blue Economy, Mr. Christos Economou, Head of Unit for Maritime Regional Cooperation and Mr. Manuel Pleguezuelo, policy officer and WestMED coordinator from DG MARE, participated in numerous sessions showing a strong commitment to the sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean. The same for Ms. Anja Detant (CINEA), as project manager of the WestMED Assistance Mechanism contract, who highlighted the WestMED Initiative and the award winning projects during the ‘Spotlights on Projects’ session.

At operational level, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism participated in different workshops as experts, moderators and rapporteurs, providing technical expertise. They also supported the UfM Secretariat behind-the-scenes in the development of the Conference.

The conference served as a crucial milestone to assess progress, discuss challenges, and engage the entire Mediterranean Sustainable Blue Economy Community in shaping further deliberations at political and practical level.

A concrete example of succesful cooperation beyond the western Mediterranean was the MoU signed during the conference among the Tunisian and Greek Maritime Clusters  (with groundwork through the WestMED Cluster Alliance) to further boost the blue economy between the western and eastern Mediterranean.

 

Anja Detant at UfM conference 2024

Samir Bachouche-and Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Manuel Pleguezuelo at UfM Conference 2024

Thanos Smanis, Isabelle Perret, Christos Economou at the UfM Stakeholder Conference 2024

UfM stakeholder Conference - speakers with thumbs up

Photos: copyright UfM secretariat

report cover

Report: A sustainable blue economy for the Mediterranean: challenges, opportunities and policy pathways

A new policy report, commissioned by the European Commission (DG Near) to the EuroMeSCo network, and developed by eco-union under the supervision of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), aims to assess the status and potential of the sustainable Blue Economy in the Mediterranean region, including an analysis of socioeconomic benefits and impacts in relevant Blue Economy activities.

This report not only encapsulates the current state of the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean but also serves as a guide for policymakers, researchers, and stakeholders, pointing towards a future where sustainable practices drive economic growth while safeguarding the invaluable marine ecosystems of the region.

Download the report

Source: Eco-Union website

 

announcement poster for the WestMED 2023 factsheet

WestMED 2023 factsheet is out now!

The WestMED 2023 factsheet is out listing its major achievements.

Goals, priorities, governance, stories, number of projects supported and much more in one quick overview

Download your copy from the publications page

Positano,italy.coastline

MED MSP Community of Practice: experts from across the Mediterranean unite to share experiences and align perspectives

On 26 On January 2023, CINEA together with DG MARE, launched the ‘Community of Practice on Maritime Spatial Planning for the Mediterranean’, with the support of the WestMED Initiative, the MSP Assistance Mechanism and Union for Mediterranean.

This is a voluntary, enthusiastic group of experts from EU and non-EU countries working on MSP in the Mediterranean.

It was established based on a growing need from the MSP Community for a continuous and structured dialogue at sea basin and sub-sea basin level.

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

In its first year, 3 workshops and 4 thematic webinars have been organised – mostly online. Participants indicated the added value of this platform and plans are underway to continue with these meetings in the years ahead.

If you want learn more and/ or join this Community of Practice, all information can be be found on the MED-MSP-COP webpage

front cover of financing opportunities guide for the green transition of fisheries and aquaculture 2023

Energy Transition Partnership & Financing Report

The new guide on financing opportunities for the Green Energy Transition of Fisheries and Aquaculture is out!

The guide is set to support the sectors through EU funding under the 2021-2027 financial framework and NextGenerationEU. The comprehensive guide aims to elucidate diverse funding options for the energy transition by targeting a broad audience, including enterprises, public administrations, research institutions, and civil society organisations. It distinguishes itself by offering a tailored approach, swiftly aiding stakeholders in identifying and assessing applicable EU funding sources. Covering areas like vessel innovation, energy-efficient gear, and aquaculture management, the guide complements existing European Commission tools and undergoes regular updates to incorporate newly identified funds.

All information can be found in the Energy Transition Partnership

Group picture of participants at Libya's first WestMED national stakeholder event 2023

Major Blue Economy Milestone in Libya with its First WestMED National Stakeholder Event

For the first time in the five years of Technical Assistance, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism experienced a national Blue Economy event in Libya on Nov 30th 2023. This was done upon the initiative of the National Coordinators, Mr Ali Shagruni and Ms Masauda Abuarosha, with  the organization and support by the National Project of Aquaculture and  the assistance from WestMED’s Italian National Hub.

With the aim of gathering the main stakeholders of the Blue Economy, the organizers could also rely on the participation of more than 60 operators in presence and of high level institutional representatives: the Deputy Minister of Marine Wealth, Saber Al Azzabi, the Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Libya, Horia Nagacevschi and the Deputy Ambassador of Italy to Libya, Riccardo Villa.

Qualified speakers for the main sectors of the Blue Economy could represent the current situation of the country in each field, also disclosing their potential role of participants to the WestMED Technical and Working Groups like Maritime Clusters Alliance, Green Shipping, Aquawest. Also participants from Italy and Tunisia, intensified the international meaning of this WestMED event, as a confirmation of the centrality of Libyan role in the Mediterranean basin.

Indeed, beside a remarkable and frank interaction on topics related to the fishery sector, the description of the opportunities represented by the Technical Assistance provided by WestMED Assistance Mechanism and those EU funded programmes accessible for Libyan stakeholders, was an important point to encourage stakeholders to join partnerships and project proposals.

This becomes a fundamental way to increase the inclusion of Libyan organizations in the Mediterranean ecosystem: the successful examples of projects like REBUILD, TAMSALL, POWER4MED, MAWEGO were mentioned.

In this perspective, the participation of HORIZON EUROPE’s National Contact Point for Libya was also an added value for liaising with raising opportunities of partnership in the coming months.

It was commonly perceived the impression that, in this phase, a more intense stakeholders’ engagement from the WestMED Assistance Mechanism could easily produce fruitful results, given the very strong expectations of Libyan stakeholders towards all forms of EU support.

 

Presenting at the Libyan westmed national event 2023

Horia Nagacevschi, Head of EU Delegation to Libya presenting at Libya's first national westmed stakeholder event 2023

Masauda Abuarosha and Ezzedine Kacem at the Libyan national westmed event 2023

participants in conference room at the WestMED National event in Libya 2023

banner of Libya WestMED national event 2023

 

 

Group of people at the Blue Mediterranean partnership agreement signing at COP28

Blue Mediterranean Partnership steps up support for sustainable blue economy

EIB, EBRD, UfM, EC, AFD, CDP, KfW, donors and beneficiary countries sign cooperation agreement at COP28

  • Blue Mediterranean Partnership to support transition to a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean region
  • Partnership to start operating in early 2024
  • Partners aim to mobilise at least €1 billion in investments

At COP28, partners and donors involved in the Blue Mediterranean Partnership reinforced their support for developing the sustainable blue economy in the southern Mediterranean region. The parties involved signed a letter of intent to make their participation in the Partnership official and to make the Partnership operational in early 2024.

The Blue Mediterranean Partnership aims to tackle the threats the Mediterranean Sea faces by coordinating the financing of blue economy projects in the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions, focusing initially on Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Through a new multi-donor fund managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Blue Mediterranean Partnership seeks to secure additional funding from sovereign donors for project preparation and blended finance. Today in Dubai, the European Commission announced a contribution of €1 million, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) contributed SEK 75 million (€6.5 million), and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced a  €2 million contribution. In the coming months, Germany and Spain are also expected to announce donations, with additional donors to follow.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), AFD, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the EBRD – will act as implementing financial institutions and cooperate to co-finance blue economy projects, which will benefit from the grants provided by the Partnership, mobilising also existing financial resources provided by the European Commission through the Neighbourhood Investment Platform and the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+).

Lastly, the beneficiary countries (Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) will lead on identifying strategic blue economy projects in their territories, while the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) will act as facilitator of the political and regulatory dialogue.

Read the full article on the website of the EIB

group photo of people celebrating launch of EMFAF projects 2023

New EMFAF Regional flagship projects just kicked off their work!

Source: CINEA website

The EMFAF Regional flagships call, with a budget of EUR 7.6 million, focused on EU sea basins cooperation; in particular the Atlantic, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea Region and the EU Outermost Regions. Ten new projects just kicked off.

Four projects are related to the Mediterranean: Green Marine Med, POWER4MED, CALLMEBLUE and the GreenMED. The first three projects received active assistance from the WestMED Assistance Mechanism in the application process.

GREEN MARINE MED  – Mediterranean Green Shipping Network: Linking Ports, Industries, Investment and Innovation for Monitoring and Technology Foresight on Green Shipping in the Mediterranean

GREEN MARINE MED will bring together, engage and mobilise the comprehensive Mediterranean Green Shipping stakeholder community, representing the full value chain including actors from the full vessel community, ports and marinas, fuel and energy, as well as finance, investment, innovation and other stakeholders. The comprehensive Network will create the foundation to enable the most broadly supported and useful Monitoring and Technology Foresight on Mediterranean Green Shipping.

Duration: 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 932 469.91

 

GreenMED – Green Shipping Pathways Towards a Clean Energy Transition in the Mediterranean

GreenMED is a regionally oriented project aiming to effectively support green shipping efforts in the Mediterranean Sea basin, by promoting plausible scenario-based decarbonisation pathways. The GreenMED’s ambition is to contribute directly and actively to the emission targets established by the EU under the 2030 and 2050 milestones. This goal´s realization relies on the comprehension and integration of innovative technologies, taking into consideration the regional ship energy demands, the fuel supply chains in both shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and the variety of emerging green shipping technologies, leading to the establishment of a decarbonisation hub: the Mediterranean Sustainable Shipping Observatory (MSSO).

Duration : 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 740 868


POWER4MED – local emPOWERment of fuel transition FOR a green MEDiterranean

Transition toward carbon neutrality in maritime transport requires short & medium-term solutions, the former based on transition fuels (LNG), the latter on not yet fully available alternative fuels (green hydrogen, methanol, electricity & wind). Dealing with such complexity is difficult for the operators of smaller ships and POWER4MED has the ambition to support them by developing the POWER4MED Supporting Structure, a “Supporting Team” of multidisciplinary experts and a set of toolkits facilitating the path toward carbon neutrality of the 3 sectors targeted by the project: fishing boats, commercial vessels and marinas.

Duration: 18 months – EU contribution: EUR 638 435

CALLMEBLUE  – Cluster ALLiance MEd BLUE

CALLMEBLUE aims to strengthen existing maritime clusters alliances in the Mediterranean area in order to accelerate north-south regional cooperation processes towards the emerging of strategic maritime clusters in North Africa area (south-south cooperation). The project will aim to create a strategic vision and transferable models of interregional cooperation, by implementing concrete actions at both local and regional level in order to raise awareness on the relevance of Maritime clusters as key actors for sustainable blue economy policies such as promoting exchange of best practices and knowledge transfer between north and southern area.

Duration: 24 months – EU contribution: EUR 780 987.86

Read the full article with the other projects on the CINEA website