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.

Blue Economy Window Call | Info Day

Blue Economy Window 2020 | Info Day is a virtual event to officially launch the Blue Economy Window Call for Proposals 2020. Known as the EMFF BlueInvest Grants, the call offers a total budget of € 20 million.

This call presents funding opportunities for SMEs across the European Union. You can get up to 70% co-funding for your project with an average EU contribution between between € 700,000 and € 2.5 million.

Here’s a link to the EMFF Blue Economy Window Call, which will be updated in the coming days.

Info Day is a fully virtual event. It will feature informative sessions on what you need to know about this year’s BlueInvest Grants along with tips and practical information for those who intend to apply. You can register here.

WestMED Malta 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

November issue of Europ’ACT/ OuestMED newsletter France available

Monthly memo with events and interesting links to reports compiled by the National Hub France

Download Link

CPMR-MED: Study on the impacts of COVID-19 and adaptation measures on the tourism sector

Download this study and annexes

ARLEM Report: The Blue economy for local and regional authorities in the Mediterranean

It is our greatest pleasure to bring to your attention the recent ‘Report on the Blue economy for local and regional authorities in the Mediterranean’, adopted by the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) in January 2020.

The publication is available in English, French and Arabic at the Mediterranean Blue Economy Stakeholder Platform (https://medblueconomyplatform.org/resources/library/ ).

2020 Festival of Sustainable Development: WestMED Initiative webinar on the Blue Economy for the territories

Within the framework of the Festival of Sustainable Development (https://festivalsvilupposostenibile.it/2020), and thanks to the collaboration with the Municipality of Gioia del Colle and Rete Antenna PON Puglia, we woud like herewith to invite you to the Westmed webinar on “The Blue Economy, as an opportunity for the sustainable development for the territories”, which has taken place on October 7, 2020.

This is an occasion to put in evidence achievable synergies and advantages that public administrations, economic operators and local communities could reach, if they focus development strategies, practices and behaviours, towards sustainable and replicable models.

The event puts in touch experts who have skills, experiences and knowledge on the main topics (circular supply chains, energy communities, industrial development and diversification allowed by “community based policies”, Maritime Spatial Planning), with a possible counterpart like RETE ANTENNA PON Puglia.

The same promoter/founder/coordinator, Arch. Michele Lastilla is also replicating this experience with Municipalities of Basilicata Region, through RETE ANTENNA PON Basilicata.

Please find herewith the agenda and the recording of the event, which has also been streamed on the Facebook page of the Municipality of Gioia del Colle: https://www.facebook.com/gioiacittasostenibile


Click for full recording of the event on WestMED’s YouTube channel

Click here for the agenda

Click here for all presentations