MEUSAC, in conjunction with Malta Marittima Agency, organised an information session on the Blue Economy, particularly the Western Mediterranean initiative.
Malta Marittima is an agency which is aimed at bringing industry and government stakeholders together to promote the continued and advanced development of the Blue economy.
A presentation was given by Franco Schembri and Jason Bongailas from Malta Marittima on the Western Mediterranean initiative while Elena Sultana from the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) spoke about another initiative – the BlueMed initiative.
Mr Schembri insisted that the nature of their role is quite challenging but interesting due to the fact that it’s not a walk in the park to maintain dialogue between all stakeholders in this sector. However, he did say that although challenging, “if we managed to create jobs in the regions involved in the Western Mediterranean initiative, it would ensure good governance in the regions”. The goals of the initiative are: a safer and more secure maritime space; a smart and resilient blue economy; and better governance of the sea.
The sea’s biodiversity is under severe pressure with a recent report by scientists from the Joint Research Centre indicating that 50% has been lost in the last 50 years. In addition to this are recent security and safety concerns from the increase in migration from the South to the North.
This initiative will allow EU and neighbouring countries to work together to increase maritime safety and security, promote sustainable blue growth and jobs, and preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
The initiative is also the fruit of years of dialogue between 10 countries of the Western Mediterranean region who are ready and willing to work together on these shared interests for the region: five EU Member States (Malta, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain), and five Southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia). It follows up on the Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy endorsed by the Union for Mediterranean (UfM) on November 17, 2015.
The BlueMed initiative – an EU-funded project promoting the blue economy in the Mediterranean Basin through cooperation – is a strategy of reference for Mediterranean countries to work together for a healthy, safe and productive Mediterranean Sea. The initiative will contribute to the creation of new ‘blue’ jobs, social well-being and a sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors. Ms Sultana highlighted the need for all stakeholders to contribute to the initiative, which will see the participation of 11 Member State countries. She said that six African countries have also been roped in which makes it an international cooperation initiative.