Meeting on 3 October in Algiers, the governing body of the Western Mediterranean Initiative has launched a €1.4 million assistance mechanism set up by the European Commission.
With this mechanism, the Commission will support the 10 participating countries and their stakeholders to implement this joint effort.
WestMED is a shared initiative between EU and non-EU countries. It supports projects that foster the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean sea basin. Countries involved are Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia.
The European Commission’s €1.4 million additional funding will help WestMED countries to set up national hubs that can give tailor-made, local support when preparing project proposals. It can also be used to help to further promote the initiative and provide information to maritime stakeholders.
Through the initiative, already eight projects have received a total funding of about 7.6 million euros. The projects are best practice examples of cross-border cooperation targeting safety, environmental protection and sustainable economic development. For example
- local Tunisian fishing communities are cooperating with Italian and French partners to develop sustainable fisheries in the region
- maritime training institutes and academies, in collaboration with French, Spanish and Italian companies and partners, work to develop new skills and professions in maritime sectors. This will lead to new jobs and increased mobility of students and workers
- several West Med countries participate in a new EU-funded project on Maritime Spatial Planning, which will help to better manage maritime activities
- Morocco is involved in a project about algal forest restoration
- Algeria participates in a project about preparedness in oils spill response
Further progress is expected in the coming months. A WestMED stakeholders Conference is scheduled in Algiers on 3 December 2018, back to back with a Ministerial meeting.