On Wednesday, December 16 2015, there was a kick-off meeting between the Executive Agency of the European Commission for SMEs (EASME), the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the EC (DG MARE) and an Ecorys led consortium with SML and Plan Bleu.
The meeting was also attended by the Directorate General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission.
A contract was signed which marked the start of a project to develop a maritime strategy for the Western-Mediterranean sea basin. This involves both the South European and Northern African countries bordering that region.
A combination of desk – and field research will result in identifying several concrete options for so-called cooperation corridors that contain structural promising (economic and environmental) potential and support from key stakeholders.
The project will last 20 months and will be divided into two phases.
In the first phase, the consortium will analyse the existing literature regarding economic, social and environmental challenges and propose options for collaboration to be discussed with the most important parties involved.
In the second phase , a more in-depth analysis of the proposed options will be carried out leading to the drafting of a maritime strategy and action plan for this sea basin.
The project is characterised by a strong participatory approach. This means that there will be regular on- and offline consultations with relevant stakeholders.
In this context, focus group meetings and events in different locations around the Mediterranean are planned, an interactive website launched, representatives and institutions consulted and a final conference organised.
During the meeting, Ecorys presented the strengths of the consortium for building the strategy. In particular Ecorys’ experience in project management, blue growth policies, impact assessments, stakeholder consultations and analysis; SML’s experience in maritime strategies and governance and Plan Bleu’s experience in the implementation and monitoring of the Barcelona Process in the Mediterranean.