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Ecorys part of an initiative for a Blue Economy in the western Mediterranean

On the 19th of April 2017, the European Commission launched an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean region. With the initiative, the European Commission encourages the ten countries involved, to work together on maritime safety and security, sustainable blue growth and jobs, and the preservation of ecosystems and biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea. 
A recent report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) has shown that 50% of the biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea has been lost over the last 50 years, mainly due to overfishing, climate change and pollution in sea. Additionally, there are growing concerns regarding the safety and security at sea, as a reaction to the South-North migration flows. Subsequently, the initiative has three goals: 1. A safer and more secure maritime space (involves cooperation between national coast guards and the response to accidents and oil spills, the upgrade of traffic monitoring infrastructure, data sharing and capacity building.) 2. A smart and resilient blue economy (through new data sourcing, biotechnology and coastal tourism). 3. Better governance of the sea (through spatial planning, marine knowledge, habitat conservation and sustainable fisheries). 
Click here to download all reports.
The initiative involves five EU Member States (France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Malta) and five Southern partner countries (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) and will be funded by existing international, EU, national and regional funds and financial instruments, to enhance to region’s ecological and economic wealth. The region covers economic hubs like Barcelona, Marseille, Naples and Tunis and also includes tourist destinations like the Balearic Islands, Sicily and Corsica. The initiative is conferred in two documents. The Communication presents the main challenges, shortcomings and the possible solutions. A Framework for Action lays out the identified priorities, actions and projects in detail, with quantitative targets and deadlines to monitor progress over time. 
Ecorys’ contribution consisted of leading a consortium of three complementary organisations to support the process underlying  this initiative. The objective was to gauge added value, political willingness and establish focus – ultimately leading to a preliminary action plan for the EC and the Union of the Mediterranean. It consisted of extensive policy desk research, organising multiple stakeholder meetings around the western Mediterranean (including a large scale conference) and managing online communication tools such as a project website, twitter, newsletters and YouTube  to keep stakeholders involved.
Please visit the official WestMed website for more information, or contact:
Javier Fernandez
Technical Director 
T (+34) 91 5980851