More than 200 maritime stakeholders join online to discuss Italian MSP, Tourism and the new Italian-Tunisian cooperation

On 25 and 26 June 2020, the WestMED Italian National Hub, with the support of the National Coordinator and the WestMED Central Team, gathered over 200 stakeholders online. These were spread over four different sessions: two plenary thematic sessions in the morning and two networking sessions in the afternoon.

Considering the Italian co-presidency in 2020 – 2021, the event was given a high international profile, welcoming contributions from main European and Mediterranean experts, the EU Commission (DG MARE, DG GROW, DG MOVE, EASME), EU MSP Platform and UNESCO IOC – MSP GLOBAL, for the benefit of Italian stakeholders.

Parallel to the National Event, the WestMED Technical Group on Green Shipping held its second online meeting, advancing on the definition of possible common project ideas on a better use of LNG and clean energies in maritime transportation.

On 25 June, the topic of the day was Maritime Spatial Planning as a tool to enhance any harmonic Blue Growth in Italy and in the Western Mediterranean. It included the state of play of the Italian process towards the March 2021 target of the MSP National Plan and its importance for the Metropolitan Coastal cities, the infrastructures for energy and maritime transport, the combination between human coastal activities and the preservation of maritime habitat.

On 26 June, the need to identify a new sustainable model for tourism was in the spotlight, with a focus on trying to offer the sector a sustainable perspective, mitigating the current impact of COVID-1 and adapting to the new scenario imposed by the accelerated climate change.

As a second initiative, since the signature of their cooperation agreement, Italian and Tunisian maritime clusters held a b2b session and focused on four main topics: high maritime education and VET, Maritime Surveillance, Fishing and Aquaculture, Nautical sector. This in order to already define some priority actions to be implemented from September onwards.

Considering the appreciation expressed by the stakeholders, the Italian WestMED National Hub and WestMED National Coordinator foresee the opportunity to implement further occasions of networking, as a follow-up of the emerged partnership opportunities.

Click here for an overview of all presentations

WestMED National Event in Mauritania helps concretise the Blue Economy concept

On 30 June 2020, more than 20 stakeholders from Mauritania gathered online to discuss the Blue Economy concept.

This national event was  organised by the WestMED Assistance Mechanism in cooperation with the National Coordinator in Mauritania of the WestMED Initiative at the Mauritanian  Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy.

It was a first of its kind meeting on the Blue Economy in Mauritania where many different organisations and institutions were represented from the private sector, the public sector and the academic world.

Next to an exchange of views, 10 ideas were identified that can be focused on to take the Blue Economy concept in Mauritania to a next stage:

  1. Promote the blue economy profile in Mauritania
  2. Skills and competences of actors for sustainable development (fisheries)
  3. Innovation to improve sustainability (e.g., waste/plastic management beyond collection, sewage treatment plants and sustainable fishing vessels);
  4. Plastic reuse experience in Senegal as pilot to capitalise in Mauritania (?);
  5. Capitalise on the (eco) tourism experience related to marine protected areas (example Nouadhibou) for coastal development with support for local capacities/skills;
  6. Desalination projects to improve access to water – be aware of MPA.
  7. Access to renewable energy (marine) for local communities
  8. MSP as an essential tool for good shared use of the sea and coastlines
  9. MSP as an essential tool to allow for a proper shared usage of the sea and littorals (pressure on coastal areas could be addressed through “green solutions”)
  10. Strategic study to identify priority activities to support a sustainable blue economy.

The National Hub Mauritania, together with the National Coordinator will study these initial ideas in more detail  and decide on a path forward.

Resources of the event: Agenda, Opening presentation(in French)

WestMED National Event in Tunisia advances development of a Blue Economy Strategy

The National  Hub Tunisia of the WestMED Initiative organized on 30 June 2020 in Tunis, the national event on ” The blue economy in Tunisia” which brought together more than 100 people including government officials, the European Union delegation in Tunis, companies, associations,  academics and researchers.

The purpose of this event was to advance the WestMED Initiative and to support Tunisia in developing a sustainable blue economy strategy based on modernising traditional sectors such as fishing, tourism, maritime transport … and promoting emerging sectors such as marine biotechnology, aquaculture, pesca-tourism, clustering, exploitation of of fish products and renewable energies linked to the sea, etc.

At the opening of the event, and after the presentation of the WestMED Initiative by the Tunisian National Hub, Mr. Chokri Ben Hassen, Tunisian Minister for the Environment, Ms. Sophie Vanhaeverbeke, head of cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union in Tunisia and Mr. Sabri Chaabani, national coordinator of the project underlined their common vision of a sustainable blue economy in Tunisia and the Mediterranean. A modern blue economy based on an alliance between the states bordering the Mediterranean. An alliance for the implementation of the road map of the “Green deal”, the European green pact promulgated by the European Union in response to the economic crisis that we are going through with Covid19.

The speakers recalled the many maritime assets of Tunisia including more than 1,650 km of coastline, a maritime area of ​​135,000 km2, a very large infrastructure in commercial ports and fishing ports, a quite varied maritime and port professions, an active artisanal fishing fleet, a very developed seaside activity and the majority of foreign trade (95%) which transits by sea.

However, several weaknesses need to be addressed. They concern in particular the fragility of sensitive maritime areas, the density of international shipping traffic not far from the coast, with potential risks of accidents and pollution and poor coordination between the many stakeholders in the sea.

Elements of an integrated maritime policy and a blue economy strategy have been proposed with action plans for several sectors. These plans were the subject of a very rich debate with a strong intervention of the civil society which insisted on the need for the protection of the environment against the pollution of plastics, ships and industrial waste and to face illegal fishing, especially off the Mahdia-Gulf of Gabes area

Finally, speakers supported the idea that Tunisia can benefit from all sectors of the sustainable blue economy. It can thus transform its development model with research, investments for economic, social and environmental activities with high added value offering numerous opportunities for qualified jobs. They insisted on cooperation with the European Union and other international institutions to make this objective a reality.


More information



In the media

in French

Tunisie : Préparation de la stratégie d’économie bleue

Economie bleue : Pour une croissance durable et inclusive

La Tunisie délaisse l’économie bleue, malgré un important potentiel

Tunisie: un événement sur “l’économie bleue” en Tunisie le 30 juin 


in Arabic

تونس انطلقت في إعداد استراتجيتها لتركيز أسس الإقتصاد الأزرق

تونس انطلقت في إعداد استراتجيتها لتركيز أسس الإقتصاد الأزرق في اطار توجه متوسطي

تونس انطلقت في إعداد استراتيجيتها لتركيز أسس الاقتصاد الأزرق