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WestMED Malta presents three blue skills project ideas at the scientific SEA-EU conference in Malta

On 10 June 2024, the multidisciplinary scientific SEA-EU conference was held  at the University of Malta in Valletta.

The Observatory for Sustainable Blue Economy (OSBE) within the SEA-EU invited the Maltese National Hub to present an overview of the WestMED initiative as part of their conference

The WestMED National hub Malta, represented by Stephanie Vella, explained the main objectives of the WestMED and highlighted the synergies which exist in terms of the research areas discussed by members of OSBE and the priority areas of the WestMED

The National Hub also presented three specific project ideas related to Blue Skills. These emanated from the WestMED hackathon held in Malta and are relevant for SEA-EU, highlighting the importance of identifying skills shortages, the role of educational institutions, as well as the importance of knowledge transfer across the Mediterranean.

The OSBE seeks to create a framework for longitudinal research projects across partners, countries and industries related to the transition of the blue economy.  The platform includes environment and human related data research and technology transfer, education, blue jobs, industry related information and the identification of best practices and case studies which are extremely relevant to Westmed stakeholders.

For more information about this presentation and the project ideas, contact Stephanie Vella from the WestMED national hub Malta: malta@westmed-initiative.ec.europa.eu

Group picture of Management Committee members RethinkBlue - 2024 Zadar

Malta represented at International Conference on Blue Economy

On 23-24 April 2024, the first RethinkBlue international conference was organized by EU COST Action CA22122 – Rethinking the Blue Economy: Socio-Ecological Impacts and Opportunities, with the support of COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology, the University of Zadar, and the Croatian Science Foundation.

During the conference, scholars and other experts discussed and presented research on issues related to social, environmental and economic aspects of the Blue Economy. This included maritime occupations; food security; sustainable blue consumption; port cities; coastal communities; fisheries governance; marine tourism; emergent activities; climate change; and natural hazards.

The RethinkBlue conference was opened by the Chairperson of RethinkBlue, Dr Dražen Cepić and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zadar Prof Zvjezdan Penezić.

Malta was represented by RethinkBlue Management Committee members Prof Michael Briguglio and Matthew Laspina. Prof Briguglio and Prof Godfrey Baldacchino also presented their respective research during the conference.

Download the book of abstracts

Photo: Management Committee members RethinkBlue

 

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

International Ocean Institute poster with 50 yeras logo and 3 sea related images

Collaboration between WestMED Malta and the International Ocean Institute, headquartered in Malta

On April 4 2024, the Maltese WestMED National Hub, Dr. Stephanie Vella and Ms. Stephanie Bugeja, met with the International Ocean Institute (IOI), represented by Ms. Antonella Vassallo, its managing director and their project officer Mr Cosmin Nicolae Chivu.

Since its foundation in 1972 by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borghese, the IOI has grown into a world leading independent, non-governmental non-profit organisation conducting training and capacity building in Ocean Governance with the aim of creating knowledgeable future leaders. It has a tremendous network of 10 centres and 21 focal points around the world, and is headquartered in Malta.

The IOI enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and consultative status at some of UN’s Specialized Agencies

The scope of the meeting was to explore areas of collaboration between the WestMED and IOI. Especially because ‘improved maritime governance’ is one of WestMED’s leading goals. The identified areas are mainly related to helping IOI’s vast ocean governance knowledge and networks expand to the wider WestMED region, find potential funding opportunities to allow better access through scholarships and mutually promote each other’s initiatives for the benefit of stakeholders in the region.

IOI trains young and mid-career practitioners in contemporary approaches to coastal and ocean management, with an emphasis on the moral, ethical and legal values in Ocean Governance (equity and peaceful uses of the ocean). As a knowledge-based institution the IOI offers a number of training courses which can benefit stakeholders within the WestMED.

Of particular importance is the training programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black,  Baltic and Caspian seas; organised in close collaboration with the University of Malta. Next to this, the IOI also organises the Ocean Academy Course on Ocean literacy in order to empower stakeholders become more active and positively influence their communities and beyond. These courses are offered periodically through the year.

Last but not least, IOI produces publications on current scientific, legal and policy developments and participates in the development of national and international ocean governance agendas, whereby WestMED’s experience can be of great use.

For more information contact the national hub Malta

 

Overview of IOI publications
Overview of IOI’s World Ocean Review editions.  Visit the website to download free of charge

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

European Blue Announcement with  2 cover pages of eu blue forum position papares 2024

The European Blue Forum Stakeholder Position Papers are out!

The European Blue Forum consisting of stakeholders from all 5  EU sea basins has published its first 2 Position papers related to key issues concerning the European Seas

Paper 1: What do we need from European Seas by 2030, and are we asking too much?
Paper 2: What does a fossil fuel free sustainable blue economy look like? How can we as a community support this transition?

These 2 papers, crafted collaboratively by European Blue Forum members through insightful discussions over the past 10 months are now accessible.

The documents are set to serve as a significant statement on maritime and coastal stakeholders’ common issues, challenges and future expectations for our European Seas. They gather the needs of the European Blue Forum members and provides the main axes of action for the years to come.

The papers will be presented during a public meeting of the inter-parliamentary group SEARICA in Brussels on 7th March 2024.

Download the papers

announcement poster EMD 2024

Apply for a stand at the EMD exhibition!

The last time stakeholders had the possibility to get together as exhibitors was in 2023.

The European Commission, the City of Svendborg and the Danish Maritime Authority are happy to be able to offer this possibility once again and to give stakeholders the chance to showcase their projects and initiatives in an exhibition.

All  corresponding information can be found through the EMD website, or by direct link EMD 2024 call for exhibition.

The deadline to apply is the 22 March 2024 at 23h59. Please note that the call is launched on a “first come first served” basis and the call may therefore be closed before the deadline if the amount of applicants already reaches the threshold.

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