Between 2014 and 2019, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund has financed many new ideas all over Europe to support both fisheries and the blue economy. It has helped many innovative projects thrive while helping in coordinating maritime cooperation across borders. The newly published brochure presents an overview of some of these disruptive projects working to protect oceans and their health.
Few countries are in a better position to benefit from the blue bioeconomy than Iceland. For much of its modern history, the North Atlantic nation’s economy relied on the sea. Fish and fish products still make up about 40% of Iceland’s commodity exports.
On 22 November, participants in the 17th regional seminar of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups adopted a declaration highlighting the potential of the blue economy as a key factor for development in many eastern and southern African countries.
As Steering Group of the Blue Bioeconomy Forum we are now proud to present you this Roadmap for the blue bioeconomy that should help the blue bioeconomy fulfil its potential and flourish. We thank all people that contributed to this Roadmap and the discussions leading to it, and wish this Roadmap is used well!
Update – a related press release has been published.
The EESC is organising a seminar on sustainable infrastructure, the role of civil society in trade, the blue economy and other ACP-EU issues.
The Council today adopted conclusions on oceans and seas, stressing that climate change is a direct and existential threat to life in oceans and seas globally. It calls for increased policy action at all levels of government to protect marine and coastal ecosystems. It notes with great concern the warming of European regional seas at a higher pace than average.
Over the course of my 5-year mandate as the European Union’s Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, I have had many opportunities to consider this phrase. In debates, I have heard the phrase too many times: “It’s just a drop in the ocean”.
Yet after these five extraordinary and fulfilling years, I am left with hope. Why? Because I have worked with so many people who are passionate about furthering the green and blue agenda. NGOs, campaigners, yes, but also business leaders, politicians at every level, economists and many individual citizens. In addition, I am more convinced than ever that change is happening.
26 new sustainable blue economy projects have been selected for funding by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The projects are expected to begin in late 2019.
As a follow-up to exchanges of information between European and Chinese scientists and engineers during the 2017 EU-China Blue Year and follow-up discussions in Tianjin last year, a contract funded under the Partnership Instrument was signed on 31 October cementing a major EU contribution to the EU-China Blue Partnership for the Oceans.
The potential of the blue bio-economy remains untapped in the EU. The EESC therefore recommends introducing pan-European pilot projects, and based on their results tapping the sector’s full potential with the involvement of both local stakeholders and the scientific community.
In her Agenda for Europe, Commission President elect Ursula von der Leyen gave top priority to environmental and climate issues, referring to environmental protection as the European Union’s most urgent action. In order for the EU to progressively reduce its environmental impact and achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, it needs to ensure sustainable food systems and provide effective water management; this is fundamental for human health, social and economic development as well as for our planet’s ecosystem. In addition, sustainable forestry represents an important solution towards the conservation of biodiversity and combating climate change. In fact, even if forests and wooded areas in the European territory – representing 43% of its land – have grown over the last decades, recent major wildfires across the continent show that conservation and sustainable use of forests are still not fully ensured by current policies.
As a result, this event will bring together policy-makers, the private sector and NGOs to jointly discuss the key environmental challenges ahead and, moreover, the crucial importance of delivering the SDGs.