The BlueSchoolsMed, CORALLO and ANDROMEDA projects, which all feature the University of Malta as a partner or even as a Coordinator (as in the case of the CORALLO project), were all recently presented at the high-profile WestMED Stakeholder Conference.
Prof. Alan Deidun, resident academic within the Oceanography Malta Research Group (OMRG) of the Department of Geosciences, and Prof. Mark Mifsud, resident academic within the CEER (Centre for Environmental Education and Research), presented, as panellists, the BlueSchoolsMed project. The Blue Schools network, which forms part of the EU4Ocean Coalition, seeks to foster a greater element of ocean literacy within schools by encouraging them to pursue marine educational activities, so-called ‘Blue Challenges.’ These Blue Challenges are co-created between educators, students and project partners and could address any thematic related to the sea, including food from the ocean, climate and the ocean, landscape and ocean, a healthy ocean, migration and the ocean, maritime culture and heritage as well as communication and the ocean. Once designed, Blue Challenges need to be implemented within the school in question, with its impact being evaluated on a regular basis, leading eventually to the formal Blue Schools recognition. In November 2022, the first batch of four Maltese schools joined the network.
The WestMED stakeholder Conference was held on 22 June 2023 and was open to all stakeholders that are contributing to improve the sustainable blue economy in the region, featuring business owners, entrepreneurs, NGOs, scientists, investors, lecturers, local and regional authorities and policy-makers. This year’s focus was on the four main thematic areas that the WestMED Initiative actively supports: Sustainable Aquaculture, Green Shipping and Ports, Maritime Clusters and Marine Spatial Planning. During the same conference, the CORALLO and ANDROMEDA projects were also showcased through an ad hoc stand and demonstration held on the margins of the conference set up by Dr Adam Gauci, from the OMRG. Prof. Deidun, in his vest as Board member of the EU Commission’s Mission Starfish, also had the opportunity to meet up with Ms Charlina Vitcheva, Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission.