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A Blue Economy Initiative for the Western Mediterranean basin



planbleu

A road map setting out the priorities for a sustainable maritime economy in the Western Mediterranean basin was on the agenda at the meeting of the various stakeholders concerned in Barcelona on 2nd February, 2017.



Naples (photo F.Dubessy)
Naples (photo F.Dubessy)
The stakeholders working on the West Med Blue Economy Initiative, part of the West Med Maritime Initiative, came together in Barcelona on 2nd February for a meeting that marked an important chapter in a project that started back in December, 2015. Set up by the European Commission's Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), the project aims to promote an integrated and sustainable economy in the Western Mediterranean sub-regional basin.

Ten countries are involved: Algeria, France, Spain, Italy, Libya, Malta, Morocco and Tunisia, bordering the Mediterranean, plus Mauritania and Portugal. A consortium of three partners has been tasked with piloting the project, the consultancy firms Ecorys and Stratégies Mer et Littoral and Plan Bleu, in its capacity as a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre and specialist in science-policy interfacing.  

Embracing a shared vision

Preliminary studies enabled the drawing up of an overview of the situation and an assessment of needs through consultations with the social and economic stakeholders involved. These were followed by a series of workshops throughout 2016 to identify solutions and, above all, define a shared "global vision" that would provide the initiative with substance. Consensus was reached on four priorities: overcoming the environmental challenges, developing a sustainable maritime economy, taking into account the issues relating to the safety and security necessary for activities to be undertaken and, lastly, placing the emphasis on training and expertise.

"A number of measures already exist, some more restrictive than others. Among the less restrictive examples is the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD) 2016/2025, of which the Blue Economy Initiative should be one of the sub-regional components," says the Plan Bleu's Carla Murciano. In charge of the project, she reckons that the main "difficulties stem from the obstacles encountered and the lack of cooperation in the implementation of these various measures". Helping the Blue Economy Initiative avoid the same foibles, often a result of inadequate sharing of data and resources, was therefore one of the points addressed in the roadmap discussions in Barcelona in which all the stakeholders (local and state-level decision-makers, regional organisations, experts, NGOs, businesses, institutions and scientific entities etc.) were present. Once this roadmap has been finalized, sometime between now and autumn 2017, the European Commission will be able to draw up its action plan.

In partnership with le Plan Bleu

Version française


 

Christiane Navas, NICE


Wednesday, February 8th 2017



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