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.

 

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 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

Horizon 2020 Calls for Proposals | European Green Deal

Deadline: 26 January 2021
Total Budget: € 1 Billion

Horizon 2020, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme, launched a new package of Calls for Proposals under the Green Deal thematic area. The deadline to present your proposals is 26 January 2021.

Associated countries (Tunisia), as well as Algeria, Mauritania and Morocco are eligible to participate in calls included within this funding mechanism. Here are a few examples of the Horizon 2020 new calls’ thematic scope:

  • Climate-resilient Innovation Packages
  • Enabling citizens to act on climate change
  • Innovative land-based and offshore renewable energy technologies
  • Green airports and ports as multimodal hubs for sustainable and smart mobility
  • Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Transparent & Accessible Seas and Oceans: Towards a Digital Twin of the Ocean

 

More information in the Horizon 2020 Services website  Click on ‘Green Deal’

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