Towards the future of blue growth in the Adriatic and Ionian Basin
In May 2021, the European Commission published a communication for a sustainable blue economy. It set out a new approach, which fully integrates the blue growth into the European Green Deal and the European Recovery Strategy (Next Generation EU) and represents the European Commission's vision for a blue economy that is sustainable, green, resilient and circular and contributes to the mitigation of change climatic. The new approach provides coherence between the sectors of the blue economy, facilitates their coexistence and seeks synergies in the maritime space, without harming the environment. It also underlines the need for investment in research, skills and innovation.
On July 7th, we explored and discussed the environmental, social, and economic importance of sustainable growth, as well as the support needed in this regard. This conference represented an opportunity to share and discuss the prospects of blue growth and how we could leverage the opportunities presented by this inevitable transformation of our society for a thriving blue economy. Relevant stakeholders presented and discussed opportunities for a green recovery of the blue economy. For this to happen, it was necessary for European institutions, Member States, and marine regions to responsibly consider not only the climate and environmental ambitions of the European Union but also the financial and social challenges, as well as the potential structural changes associated with the implementation of all proposed measures.
In the presence of approximately 40 participants and speakers from universities, EUSAIR regions, representatives from DG MARE and DG Research and Innovation, Healthy Seas and Waters, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, each of the three sessions focused on specific issues, namely:
- Blue growth in the Adriatic-Ionian area
- Blue bioeconomy and blue biotechnology
- Blue circular economy
- Funding opportunities for the sustainable blue economy – Smart Specialization Strategy (S3)
Main topics and contribution concerned the Ecological Transition and Blue Economy with the presentation of Ecomondo activity (Green & Technology Division, Italian Exhibition Group)
European Strategies in support of sustainable blue growth as well as the EU Mission Restore our Oceans and Waters by 2030 and possible synergies with national and regional programs and initiatives. It was highlighted the need for greater synergy among the various Directorates-General, considering the vast theme of blue growth.
Subsequently, an Overview of Macroregional Strategies (MRS) state of the art have been presented. In particular we focussed on MRS and Sea Basin Strategies common flagships and EUSAIR Pillar 1 Flagship projects with regard to new priorities and road map.
The West Med initiative has been illustrated by Mr. Daniele Bosio - Coordinator of seas and ocean affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.
In the second session a special focus regarded the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes with particular regards to how Interreg programmes are implemented and could further support MRS strategies and respond to territorial needs.
In Session 3 Actions and projects supporting blue growth in the Adriatic-Ionian area in a multilevel perspective have been presented as well as possible financial support programmes regarding Research & Development and innovation, LIFE +, EMFAF, Cultura, COST.
The presentation focussed on Sustainable Urban Development Strategies to connect the "sustainable blue and the green economy."
The Contribution to MRS by European Structural and Investment Funds, namely ERDF and ESF+ 2021-2027 (Regional Programmes) have been also presented. A focus have been devoted to the Northern Adriatic District governance policies to Adriatic Cooperation projects for the harmonization of sustainable fishing and aquaculture activities.
Best practices of some projects in support of the sustainable blue economy:
- PORTODIMARE (Interreg ADRION).
- Sushi Drop (Interreg Italy-Croatia).
- Euro-MED: Dialogue4Innovation (Interreg Euro-MED).
It was highlighted the need to improve technical knowledge and specific training. Blue Skills and Jobs.
A networking session concluded the event.