Articles

front cover portuguese recovery and resilience plan

Portugal’s recovery and resilience plan purposes €252 million for Blue Economy

Portugal was the first Member-State to officially submit its recovery and resilience plan to the European Commission on the 22nd of April. The Plan focuses on resilience, climate, and digital transition, and it is divided into 20 main sections/areas, comprising 27 reforms and 83 investments.

 The Blue Economy is one of the 20 areas for investing, gathering a total amount of €252 million. The four investments are the Blue Hub, a Network of Infrastructures for the Blue Economy; The Green and Digital Transition and Fisheries security; the Atlantic Defence Operations Centre and Naval Platform; and the development of the Azores Blue Economy Cluster.

 The European Commission will assess the Portuguese Plan and wait for all Member-State to submit their recovery and resilience plans. “We will continue to engage intensively with the Member States to help them deliver high-quality plans. Our goal remains to adopt all plans by the summer. For the first payments to be made, we need all Member States to have approved the Own Resources Decision”, said President Ursula von der Leyen.

The Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan is available here.

The European Commission Press Release is available here.

 

For more information contact the National Hub Portugal

report cover with people swimming

Report: The future of Mediterranean tourism in a (post) covid world

Mediterranean tourism is now at a crossroad. Severely impacted by travel restrictions due to the COVID19, its future is now decided and faces a fundamental question: back to Mass Tourism or leapfrog towards Sustainability?

Download the report that has been prepared by the Eco-Union. This can also be found on a dedicated page of Eco-Union’s website.

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Blues Summer School – now accepting applications | 10 selected participants free of charge

The Jean Monnet Module titled “The Blue Economy and Sustainability – the EU and the Mediterranean” (BLUES) supports the running of a summer school on the sustainable blue economy for 3 consecutive summers (2021, 2022 and 2023).

This June, EMUNI will run a dynamic and engaging BLUES summer school, offering a combination of distance learning, supervised research or entrepreneurial work, face-to-face interactive teaching and field trips subject to the conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The goal of the summer school, jointly organised with the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS) in Italy, is to support the creation of stable and attractive career pathways and skilled talents that will be needed to support the expansion of marine and maritime sectors by improving professional skills and competences, fostering networks and partnerships, and encouraging the active contribution to positive change for the conservation and sustainable use of the Mediterranean Sea.

The application deadline is 6 April 2021 at 14.00 (CET) and is open to postgraduate students of any discipline related to the Blue Economy with a demonstrated interest in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

10 selected participants will be able to attend in person the summer school free of charge. To apply and find out more, go to: BLUES project – EMUNI

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Call for participants oinline training on blue jobs and cross-cutting skills for young professionals and graduates of the med countries

14-15 April 2021 | Limited places available

Blue Skills required in the future are diverse: soft, technical, digital, social media, environmental, security, entrepreneurial, socio-economic, multi-disciplinary, languages, statistics, law, maritime spatial planning. This programme will be useful for students and young graduates from a wide range of academic backgrounds, and will cover topics relevant for a diversity of sectors and careers:
● Business and incubators
● Smart Specialization Strategies
● Technological innovation for sustainable blue growth
● Talent circulation and Partnership Building
● Best/ Good Practices

Target: Alumni OGS – HOMERe – young professionals and researchers; post-graduates in the field of marine sciences and maritime sectors (blue growth/ blue economy related). The places available are limited. The selection will be on a rolling basis.

Language: Simultaneous interpretation in English, French, and Arabic

Download the pdf with all information

Call for Participants: online registration form (open until 01.04.2021) – https://ufmsecretariat.org/registration-form-ufm-homere-blueskills-workshop/

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Ministerial Declaration recognises the WestMED Initiative for the development of the Blue Economy in the Mediterranean

On February 2, 2021, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) held its Second Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy aimed at improving maritime governance and at intensifying joint efforts to foster the sustainable blue economy development in the Mediterranean.

The Conference also intended to address the growing environmental and climate-related challenges that the Mediterranean region is facing, and tackle the unprecedented socio-economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has generated.

In the framework of this Conference, Ministers from the 42 UfM States have adopted a new Declaration on Blue Economy, where they recognise the WestMED initiative as a successful example of cooperation and a catalyst for the development of sustainable blue economy.

Hence, the WestMED initiative has been recognised as a key tool for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Mediterranean, “focused on clear goals, priorities and measurable targets”.

The WestMED initiative will continue contributing to the main objective of the Declaration, which is to make more resilient and sustainable blue sectors such as tourism, fisheries and aquaculture while promoting sustainable investments in areas such as green shipping to meet the evolving needs and challenges of the blue economy sectors.

 

Second Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy: https://ufmsecretariat.org/ufm-ministerial-conference-blue-economy/

Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy: https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Declaration-UfM-Blue-Economy-EN.pdf

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The year ahead for the WestMED Initiative

A new Technical Group on Aquaculture, a Maritime Clusters cooperation scheme, a webinar with a focus on blue skills and another WestMED Stakeholder Conference. These are some of the main activities foreseen in 2021. So, stay tuned!

During the last WestMED Steering Committee meeting, on December 16, 2020, its members outlined a roadmap of activities and initiatives to be carried out in the year to come. 2021 has just started and a number of exciting developments in the framework of the WestMED initiative are already taking shape and will be launched soon.

Two new cooperation frameworks will be initiated. They are based on the successful Technical Group on Sustainable Transport – Green Shipping with key stakeholders, that kicked-off last year. They already convened four times to discuss key developments and will continue their activities in 2021.

The new frameworks will focus on two policy areas which are pivotal for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy in the western Mediterranean. One focused on Aquaculture and one on Maritime Clusters cooperation with the aim of further strengthening ties between Northern and Southern countries within the western Mediterranean.

These initiatives directly build on the insights gained during the stakeholder webinars that the WestMED Assistance Mechanism organised in December 2020, namely the webinar on Sustainable Aquaculture and the virtual stakeholder meeting on Maritime Clusters.

Given the impact and wide range of opportunities generated by these events, a new WestMED webinar will be organised focusing on Blue Skills will be held this spring.

Moreover, another large-scale Stakeholder Conference will be hosted in 2021 – either virtual, hybrid or in-person, depending on the covid-19 developments.

More details concerning all these activities will be coming up soon, so stay tuned through our website and/or Twitter!

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Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood – A new agenda for the Mediterranean

Press release: EEAS (European Union External Action Service) | 9-2-2021

Twenty-five years ago the European Union and the Southern Mediterranean partners committed to turning the Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue, exchange and cooperation, guaranteeing peace, stability and prosperity.

The 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration reminds us that a strengthened Mediterranean partnership remains a strategic imperative for the European Union, as the challenges the region continues to face require a common response, especially ten years after the Arab Spring. By acting together, recognising our growing interdependence, and in a spirit of partnership, we will turn common challenges into opportunities, in our mutual interest.

poster tourism webinar with camels on beach

WestMED – BlueMed webinar focuses on strengthening ties and opportunities with Southern Partners

Context/introduction

 The WestMED Assistance Mechanism is promoting a series of webinars in partnership with BlueMed initiative aimed at bringing stakeholders in the Mediterranean together to address common challenges and support the development of sustainable blue growth. The intention behind this collaboration is to create increasing synergies between the two initiatives.

A first webinar was organised by BlueRoSES, Mistral and BlueMed and included the participation of the WestMED AM on 10 November 2020 wherein the webinar focused on the provision of ICT services for post Covid 19 blue tourism in the Mediterranean region. A second event on strengthening ties and opportunities with Southern Partners was held on 15th December. It was hosted by WestMED to allow for the showcasing of a few BlueMed projects focusing in particular on opportunities that can be reaped by the Southern partners in the Western Mediterranean.

Objectives of the webinar

The WestMED Initiative focuses on local and reginal challenges in the Western Mediterranean and allows for the sharing of opportunities through the matching of stakeholders and provides support in the development of successful projects. Towards this end, the Westmed, in collaboration with the Bluemed which also seeks to support and coordinate research in order to build sustainable blue growth, organised the workshop in order to allow stakeholders to engage in an initial brainstorming session on gaps and opportunities emerging from the results, best practices and lessons learned from projects within the dimension of coastal and maritime tourism.

The general objective of the webinar was to investigate some pivotal areas for further project development and support the exchange between existing projects and a broader range of sectoral stakeholders across the western Mediterranean – and the Mediterranean at large. Additionally, the event provided the opportunity to identify useful elements for future discussions on future projects taking in due consideration the existing ones and building on the outcomes and lessons of the existing projects.

Specifically, the webinar provided a venue for projects to be showcased but more importantly it focused on how the lessons learnt from these project can be extended to the Southern partners in the Mediterranean. Indeed, the second part of the webinar allowed Southern partners to discuss the relevance of the presented practices for the Southern Mediterranean as well as identify any other areas which are critical for project development in the Southern Mediterranean.

Main elements discussed

The discussion during the webinar was focused on the following elements:

  • The risks and challenges faced by the tourism sector in the Mediterranean which are common risks requiring common and joint solutions.
  • Greater emphasis is required on collaboration, not only across project partners, through the implementation of projects, but also across platforms such as that which has been undertaken by the Westmed and Bluemed for this event.
  • Lessons which can be extended to Southern partners range from the application of methodologies which can be replicated, learning on how to effectively engage stakeholders and the transfer of knowledge.
  • Specific to the tourism sector, the discussion focused on how the tourism product can be diversified particularly in light of recent challenges and risks, the use of ICT particularly with the onset of challenges brought about by Covid as well as the importance of development sustainable and resilient sector, one which can withstand the incidence of shocks which are likely to continue to be faced by the sector. Towards this end, the vulnerability of the sector was noted wherein some of the variables which lead to the vulnerability of the sector, are common factors across the Mediterranean. This provides scope in learning from the outcomes of projects which have been focusing on building a flexible and yet resilient tourism sector in the Mediterranean.

Conclusions/next steps

 The participation of CPMR and Interreg, both of which provided an overview of activities which are relevant for the Southern partners in the Western Mediterranean provided the basis for follow up ideas including:

  • The promotion of workshops on the development of a Sustainable Tourism Manual which can be applied by a number of players in the tourism sector within the Western Mediterranean.
  • Supporting key projects which provide a sound basis for lessons which can be applied to different stakeholders. This should be an essential component of funded projects to ensure that the benefits drawn from these projects are extended.
  • Development of a sustainable tourism observatory among the Southern partners of the Western Mediterranean which can serve as an extension of the BestMed project which focuses on data management for sustainable tourism in order to ensure better governance in the Mediterranean.Promoting the involvement and participation of southern stakeholders in projects.

Click here to watch the full recording of the 2020 tourism webinar on YouTube

Click here to download the masterfile of presentations that was used during the 2020 tourism webinar

 

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WestMED priorities 2021 discussed at Business2Sea event

The Portuguese National Hub, Fórum Oceano, in cooperation with WestMED Central Team, and with the collaboration of other National Hubs, organised a webinar under the 10th edition of the international event Business2Sea. The session took place on the 17th of November, gathering around 50 stakeholders from different countries, such as Portugal, Spain, France, Malta, Italy, Morocco, or Tunisia.

 The workshop, comprising three sessions, aimed at discussing the main objectives of the Initiative for the next few years. The goal of the event was to promote the debate about WestMED’s priorities and Challenges, and to discuss how to foster cooperation within the Western Mediterranean.

 The opening session counted on the presence of Conceição Santos, Deputy Director-General for Maritime Policy – DGPM (Portuguese National Coordinator of WestMED), Isabelle Viallon, Deputy Head of Unit Sea-basin Strategies, Maritime Regional Cooperation and Maritime Security – DG MARE, and Javier Fernández, Technical Director at Ecorys and Project Leader of the WestMED Initiative.

 During the opening session, the participants discussed topics such as upcoming priorities, synergies between Mediterranean and Atlantic, and funding opportunities. Isabelle Viallon explained that a specific fund focused on one of the WestMED main priorities is planned, encouraging stakeholders to prepare and develop robust project ideas. 

 Tourism, Aquaculture, Ports and Maritime Transport, Investments and Financing Blue Economy were the main themes debated within the second session, addressing the Green Deal and the challenges for WestMED. This session counted on with the participation of Stephanie Vella (NH Malta), Mario Dogliani (CS Mare Foundation), Malouli Idrissi (NH Morocco), and Michael Adams (Ocean Assets Institute).

 The Webinar ended with the presentation of project ideas. WestMED National Hubs from Spain, France, Malta, Italy, Tunisia, and Portugal share some food for thought presenting project proposals on Clusters, Ports, Fisheries or Aquaculture.

 The Workshop was a step forward to boost the cooperation within the WestMED area, the relevance of the speeches and the project ideas presented are materials to feed the work in next future.

Click for full recording

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The WestMED initiative pushes for the Blue Economy in Spain, Morocco and Portugal

During the last quarter, two WestMED National Events have taken place online in Spain and Morocco, and a dedicated workshop on the initiative was held within the Business2Sea conference organized by Fórum Oceano.

 

WestMED National Event Spain | 23 September 2020

The event “Opportunities for the Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean” was held virtually, the first national event that the WestMED Initiative Assistance Mechanism has organized in Spain through its executing arm in the country (Spanish National Hub, Dr. Marta Pascual) and in collaboration with the Spanish Maritime Cluster (CME) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as national coordinators of the WestMED Initiative.

Throughout the event, 3 European projects were highlighted as examples of sustainability, innovation and good practices and deepening into the discussion on new funding opportunities for projects in the blue economy for the post-2020 period (2021-2027). In total, the event brought together a total of 112 organizations, institutions and agencies from Spain as well as two international organizations.

Click here for the recording

 

WestMED National Event Morocco | 11 November 2020

Morocco’s WestMED National Event focused on the concept of the Blue Economy and the main challenges and opportunities it may pose to this country. It was organised by the National Hub Morocco (M. Aomar Bourhim et M. Malouli Idrissi), with the involvement as key speakers of the Directorate General for Ports and Maritime Public Affairs, the National Agency for Aquaculture Development and the Tourism Department.

The overall objective of the event was to gather all relevant stakeholders in the blue economy sector and to pave the way for the development of a national action plan. Up to 41 people took part in this online event.

 

Business2Sea Event | 17 November 2020

Business2Sea is an international event, organised by Fórum Oceano, dedicated to facilitating interactions among people and organizations and to promote projects and businesses within the blue economy.

During a dedicated workshop on the WestMED Initiative at the B2Sea event, Javier Fernandez, Project Leader, presented the WestMED Initiative, focusing on the type of activities and services the Assistance Mechanism has been delivering for the last couple of years, and will continue to do so in the future.

Also, a dedicated part of the  presentation was devoted to discuss the priorities for 2021, including the “hot” topics currently been discussed in the framework of the initiative, such as green shipping, maritime clusters, tourism accelerators or how to take things forward in the south shore with respect to aquaculture. Finally, some relevant open calls for proposals of potential interest to the audience were identified.