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


 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


WestMED National Event Algeria 2020

The Algerian National Hub of the WestMED Initiative with the support of WestMED Central Team and the collaboration with other National Hubs of France, Tunisia and Italy organized a National Event, under webinar format. This Maritime Cluster event was held on 9 December 2020 and brought together about 67 participants from Algeria and other countries.

In order to foster the establishment of national Maritime Cluster in Algeria especially for fisheries sector, it was very crucial to share experience between countries where Clusters are already operational like Tunisia, Italy and France. Through this event, discussion on how building a strong and collaborative network activity between essential actors at local and national level. The panelists discussed the ways and mechanisms of organization and implementation of Maritime Fisheries Cluster, with a view to creating an operational framework for bringing together key players in this sector, in particular investors, local actors and researchers.

This virtual meeting on Maritime Fisheries Cluster was also the opportunity to discuss on how development of socio-economic activities through job creation and investment in high added value services through across a range of sectors in the Blue Economy in Algeria. In the way, Panelists, were showing the various funding opportunities that exist through cooperation with the European Union, including the support offered under the WestMED Initiative.

Download the PowerPoint presentations of the Algerian national Event on Fisheries

Watch the full event on Youtube

Numéro de décembre de la newsletter Europ’ACT / OuestMED France disponible

Lettre d’information et mémo avec des évènements et des liens intéressants  compilés par le National Hub France

Lettre dínformation| Mémo

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

WestMED National Event Morocco 2020

Economie Bleue Quels défis, opportunités et priorités pour le Maroc ?

Objet de la réunion :

  •  Présenter l’initiative WestMED, ces objectifs, priorités et les opportunités qu’elle propose.
  • Grouper le réseau de l’initiative et discuter les priorités de l’initiative au niveau du Maroc.

Principaux  Points abordés Synthèse des principaux points abordés.

Présentation de l’Initiative
Le hub national (M. Malouli Mohamed idrissi) a présenté l’initiative WestMED, ces objectifs, priorités, et les hubs nationaux des différents pays partenaires et de l’équipe interne du Mécanisme d’assistance. Après le hub national a donné la parole au coordinateur national de l’initiative au Maroc (M. Bourhim Aomar) et le coordinateur national de l’Italie (M. Daniele Bosio).

Discussion sur la création du Cluster Maritime marocain 
La discussion a débuté par la présentation de M. Bakhalek Mustapha (USAID-Maroc) sur la tentative de création du cluster maritime marocain en 2013 et l’importance de la création de ce cluster aujourd’hui. M. Kacem Ezzedine (président du cluster maritime tunisien) a présenté l’expérience tunisienne dans la création du cluster maritime et son organisation. Et M. Leonardo (hub national de l’Italie) a présenté l’expérience italienne dans la création du cluster maritime et le rôle que peut jouer en terme de coopération.

Transport maritime  
Mme El Amrani Sanae(MTPNET) a exposé l’importance du transport Maritime mondial et au niveau du Maroc et a présenté l’intérêt du Maroc pour l’utilisation du GNL et ses avantages en expliquant les difficultés qu’il faut régler comme la logistique et la mise en œuvre du code gazier.

M. Mansouri Amine (ANDA) a exposé l’importance de l’aquaculture au Maroc et son potentiel ainsi que son rôle dans la création de richesse et d’emploi, tout en précisant quelle est l’un des secteurs prioritaires de l’économie bleue au Maroc.

Opportunités de financement
M.  Herpes Frederick (Hub national-France) a présenté le rôle du mécanisme d’assistance dans la veille sur les opportunités de financement, et les opportunités qui sont actuellement ouvertes tels que Horizon 2020.

Planification spatiale
Mma Bensmail Laila a présenté les recommandations nationales pour la mise en place de la planification spatiale maritime au niveau du Maroc.

Discussion générale
Plusieurs questions ont été soulevées par les participants principalement sur :

  • La création et l’organisation des clusters maritimes et leurs rôles dans le développement de l’économie bleue.
  • Les opportunités de financement et comment y accéder.

Pour cela le hub national marocain a énoncé qu’un atelier sera organiser par l’initiative pour former les parties prenantes à comment utiliser les plateformes de financement, chercher des partenaires, et monter leurs propositions de projet en adéquation avec les directives demandées par les fonds ciblés.


Promoting Sustainable Transport in the western Mediterranean

Through the establishment of a cooperation framework within the western Mediterranean sub-sea basin, the WestMED initiative’s Technical Group on Sustainable Transport and Green Shipping aims to promote dialogue among key actors and contribute to the deployment of innovative solutions for clean maritime transport.

Following the conclusions of the Steering Committee of Rabat in October 2019, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism set up this Technical Group (TG) in order to address maritime transport environmental challenges and identify potential opportunities for its sustainable development, including funding and project development.

The TG became operational as of April 2020, and four meetings with relevant stakeholders have taken place since then, involving Port Authorities and Ministries for each WestMED country.

To support the discussions in each TG meeting, dedicated National Groups have been established in all concerned countries, with a larger group of national stakeholders being consulted under the coordination of the WestMED National Hubs.

A specific Action Plan including a number of potential project ideas is currently under preparation. In parallel, a review of the most suitable financing mechanisms to support such concept is undergoing.


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.

Towards the establishment of an efficient network of WestMED Maritime Clusters

Building upon a strong networking activity during its first two years of implementation, the WestMED Assistance Mechanism is promoting the organization of a closed meeting on November 30th to pave the way for the development of an integrated maritime clusters network within the Western Mediterranean.

Maritime clusters are essential actors in fostering the aggregation of local SMEs and large companies across a range of sectors in the Blue Economy, including through synergies with enterprises involved in in-land activities across complex value chains.

In order to foster the establishment and/or consolidation of Southern maritime clusters, it is crucial to increase North-South and South-South cooperation. Conceived as a step in this direction, this virtual meeting will involve representatives from existing national maritime clusters, who will share their cooperation experiences and explore their transferability.

WestMED underlines the importance of partnerships during Tourism, ICT and post-Covid event

The vulenrability of the tourism sector is a common challenge which requires joint solutions. There is thus scope in building partnerships in order to find effective solutions as well as identifying lessons as a means of building resilience. The webinar on the ICT services for post Covid-19 blue tourism (on November 10, 2020) in the Mediterranean region has specifially sought to address this challenge by harnessing the joint efforts of a number of stakeholders including those of the BlueMed, WestMed as well as the relationships identified through the Blue Roses and Mistral. The intention is to continue to develop these relationships and build on our synegies for the benefit of the maritime sector and its stakeholers.

The effective use of digitilisation requires investment in skills – those which are required to develop digitilisation as well as those required to use digitilisation.

Covid is making us greatly aware of the importance of digitilisation but it is also making us aware of the importance of relationships which are also experienced through travelling. We must ensure that these two elements are complementary in nature.

During the event the National Hub for Malta spoke about the vulnerability of the tourism sector, a sector which has practically been paralysed by the shock exerted by Covid. Furthermore the sector continues to be vulnerable to other shocks including those manifested by climate change.  The importance of the sector is evident through its key contribution in the generation of income and jobs across a number of  countries in the Mediterranean and thus it has thus never been as evident that the sector is in need of resilience. Given the common challenges, stakeholders should seek partnerships and focus on joint solutions. Innovative solutions which draw on the lessons from different mutidisiplinaries are required. It is therefore imperative to build on the synergies that are brought about by initiatives such as the Westmed, which seeks to bring stakeholders together, and the Blue Med, which addresses research and innovation. The National hub also stressed that there are important partnerships which have been developed through Mistral and Blu Roses which should be nurtured further.

Full recording on YouTube

Tourism Event-15 December 2020

It is due to these considerations that the Westmed together with its partners will be organising another event on the tourism sector focusing on strengthening of ties and opportunities with southern partners as a means of developing a sustainable tourism sector in the Mediterranean.

Interested to attend? Let us know by clicking here

NH Spain highlights funding opportunities for recreational boating and the importance of cooperation

On the 6th of November 2020 the Spanish National Hub of the WestMED Initiative took part on the 3rd Symposium of Blue Economy organized by the Inter-university Department on Blue Economy along with the University of Alicante, the University of Miguel Hernández and the Consellería d´Economía Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç I Treball of the Generalitat Valenciana. The event focus was on the recreational maritime sector and the challenges that this emerging sector is facing in times of change. The WestMED Assistance Mechanism Spanish National Hub, Dr. Marta Pascual, participated in the event with two presentation. The first one under the title “La Iniciativa WestMED: Iniciativa regional para un desarrollo sostenible en el Mediterráneo Occidental” and a second one under the title “Elegibilidad, desarrollo y tramitación de proyectos marítimo-recreativos europeos en el Mediterráneo occidental”. Mrs. Pascual highlighted the following message: “The sustainable development of the Blue Economy in the Western Mediterranean requires a more solid cooperation between those agents of the maritime sectors. In this sense, it is essential that the recreational boating sector collaborates in advancing ideas for innovative and sustainable projects with other Mediterranean countries.” There are currently several European funding opportunities for projects in recreational boating that deal with :

  • Digitization (with boats and marinas connected)
  • Environmental sustainability (connection of nautical tourism, boats and marinas with a clean environment)
  • Adaptation to CC, sea level rise and increased frequency of extreme events (dry marinas, dry docks)
  • New materials, problems at the end of their useful life (dismantling, recycling …)
  • New types of engines (electric, hybrid and hydrogen)
  • Re-fitting and repair
  • Superyachts (manufacturing, R&D, design …)
  • Harmonization at the EU level of the recognition of skipper qualifications, as well as the rules for VAT on boats and moorings
  • Lack of manpower and skills
  • Seasonality of jobs (initiatives to reduce seasonality can guarantee long-term stability in the sector)

From the WestMED Initiative, and more specifically from its Assistance Mechanism, we want to encourage all those interested in the recreational maritime sector to join this objective of achieving a sustainable blue economy and dare to present and lead international projects! ” The Event Program can be accessed here