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From the National Consultations to the BlueMed Implementation Plan

BlueMed Initiative

The BlueMed Initiative aims to advance a shared vision for a more healthy, productive, resilient, better known and valued Mediterranean Sea, promoting the citizens’ social well-being and prosperity, now and for future generations, and boosting economic growth and jobs.

BlueMed

Why BlueMed?

Among the seas surrounding Europe, the Mediterranean has no match when it comes to biodiversity and the links between human activities and the environment. It is changing fast in response to both natural and anthropogenic pressures. Climate change, growing maritime traffic and pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and invasions of alien species are among the stressors placing the region at risk. At the same time, the Mediterranean’s unique features provide major local opportunities for blue growth and jobs, ranging from fisheries to tourism.

The region’s geopolitical complexity may represent a constraint on the development of blue economic growthjoint efforts are required to address common challenges. A global perspective, transnational and international cooperation, are essential to realize safe, secure and sustainable development for all by taking into account national priorities.

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BlueMed Pilot Action On A Healthy Plastic-Free Mediterranean Sea

The BlueMed Pilot action on a Healthy Plastic-Free Mediterranean Sea, launched in 2018, consists in mapping and assessing the actions on place regarding marine plastic pollution in the EU and non EU countries of the Mediterranean area to promote the circulation of good practices, R&I actions but also demonstration, communication and educations actions specifically addressed to face the challenges posed by marine litter in the Mediterranean Sea as a whole.

About 8 million tons of plastic litter enters the ocean every year, threatening marine wildlife and ecosystems, and indirectly the human health, and the sea based economies. Plastic pollution represents a transboundary problem and thus it requires global coordination and long-term multiple approaches to develop shared solutions. Mediterranean Sea is strongly impacted by marine litter of different size found along the coastlines, floating both on the surface and on the water column down to the seafloor. Currently, Mediterranean is now one of the seas more affected by plastic pollution at world scale, with record levels of microplastics.  With only 1% of the World’s waters, Mediterranean Sea concentrates 7% of all global microplastics, earning the “plastic trap” appellative.

It has been largely demonstrated that marine litter directly affect living organisms, especially due to macro-plastics presence and micro-plastics ingestion, threatening marine species and consequently human health. Thus, Mediterranean plastic pollution represents today a serious risk for the local environment and human health, but also for the key economic sectors that rely on sea resources and heath as for Fisheries and Tourism.

From National consultation to the BlueMed Implementation plan

A number of National Consultations have been conducted to support the definition of the BlueMed Implementation. Consultations happened in the form of large events to medium size workshops, informal meetings or national public consultations. Participants to the consultations have been stakeholders of different nature: representatives from national ministries, public funding agencies, management authorities and focal points for the implementation of key programmes, representatives from the private sector, international organizations. Stakeholders were invited to discuss the state of the collaboration around the Mediterranean basin, confront on the key enabling knowledge, technologies and sectors needed to sustain and foster blue growth and sustainability in the region and elaborate on the next activities to envisage in order to meet the challenges of the future. Their contributions provided direct inputs for the BlueMed Implementation Plan.The Implementation Plan, drafted in June 2020, presents the shared priority goals, resulting from the preliminary prioritisation work jointly realised by the countries, and addresses thematic and structuring activities to be developed in order to ignite a transformative process at Mediterranean level. Each priority, closely linked to a key challenge in the shared BlueMed Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, comes with an “operational receipt” to reach the priority goal and with a set of Strategic Actions, i.e. larger and medium-long term initiatives and activities, with specific scientific or structural content that require strong commitment and additional dedicated resources from research funders; moreover, for each Strategic Action a proposal of feasible promotional actions is reported.

UNIMED SubNetwork on BlueMed

UNIMED has recently proposed the creation of the UNIMED SubNetwork on BlueMedwith the aim of actively contributing to the implementation of the BlueMed SRIA for the themes concerned and supporting the dialogue of the UNIMED associated universities with each other and with local, national and regional stakeholders, to move forward in the development of the Mediterranean Sea cooperation.The main objectives of the SubNetwork are:

  1. Promoting regional and cross-cutting cooperation between the two shores of the Mediterranean, to create new partnerships and develop joint projects;
  2. Gathering and sharing information, to collaboratively carry out studies, analysis and research papers on the issues above, and to support knowledge-based policy making;
  3. Supporting Universities in the definition of key competences related to the Blue Economy and innovative Blue Technologies, and facilitate training for a new generation of scientists, professionals and entrepreneurs;
  4. Promoting awareness and understanding around the importance of sustainable Blue Med actions, organising international events (workshops, conferences, webinars, trainings) to improve the flow of knowledge and exchanging experiences between researchers and scholars;
  5. Mapping current actions to avoid replication and encourage best practices in fields such as: cleaning the Mediterranean Sea and preserve its ecosystem, adaptation to climate change, protection of coastal areas, ecosystem-based management of aquaculture and fisheries, sustainable tourism, effective maritime spatial planning, observing systems and oceanography, marine and coastal cultural heritage, innovative business and new technologies.

Shall you be interested to join the UNIMED SubNetwork on BlueMed, you can register your University contacting us at unimed@uni-med.net.