Building a Sustainable Blue Economy: Insights from the Black Sea CMA Stakeholder Conference

Building a Sustainable Blue Economy: Insights from the Black Sea CMA Stakeholder Conference

Author: Black Sea Assistance Mechanism

Bucharest, Romania | 22-23 November, 2023


In a collaborative effort to foster a sustainable, modern, and competitive blue economy in the Black Sea region, the Black Sea Common Maritime Agenda Stakeholder Conference 2023 took place in Bucharest on 22-23 November. Organized under the auspices of the CMA Romanian coordination, alongside the Black Sea Assistance Mechanism and the European Commission, the event drew active participation from about 200 stakeholders.


Bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds such as EU institutions, networks, blue economy experts, NGOs, research organisations, national authorities, academia, (inter)national businesses, as well public and private investors, the conference provided a platform to address challenges and explore opportunities in the Black Sea basin. For two days, attendees engaged in discussions on topics spanning from marine environment and biodiversity, to investment, entrepreneurship, and skills development, fostering knowledge sharing and collaborative efforts.


The thematic sessions of the first day of the conference, addressed restoring healthy marine ecosystems, fostering investment for entrepreneurship, and boosting innovation and blue skills. The second day of the conference featured hackathons and matchmaking sessions, including a dedicated BlueInvest workshop with pitches from companies developing sustainable blue technologies to public and private regional investors. the CMA Technical Group on Sustainable Aquaculture also kicked off activities with a dedicated meeting of national experts. Both days showcased the most representative Black Sea initiatives and opened the floor to discussions on shaping a more sustainable future for the Black Sea maritime economy.


The main ideas emerged from the hackathons facilitated by the National Hubs are the following:

  • Blue Skills: Four project ideas emerged, including initiatives like “Blue start-ups for our Sea” and “Scuba diving for Ocean literacy.”

  • Greening of Maritime Transport and Ports: Project ideas spanned decarbonization, environmental measures, and new training approaches for the green transition.

  • Coastal and Maritime Tourism: Focus areas included underwater cultural heritage and coastal eco-tourism.


The conference also hosted the Black Sea Project Awards, the winners of this year’s edition are: 

  1. ANEMONE: Winner of the 2023 Black Sea Project Awards excelling in the "Healthy Marine and Coastal Ecosystems" category,

  2. 4biz and DBAN: Joint winners for "Fostering Investment in the Black Sea Blue Economy",

  3. Tourism 4.0 for the Black Sea: Project Winner for "A Competitive, Innovative, and Sustainable Blue Economy in the Black Sea",

It is important to note that the 4biz, DBAN as well as Tourism 4.0 projects are funded by EMFAF/EMFF, a fund managed by CINEA.


The successful organisation of the Black Sea Common Maritime Agenda Stakeholder Conference 2023 under the Romanian coordination underscores the collaborative efforts made this year to advance in the implementation of the initiative. The recognition of outstanding projects and activities sets the stage for continued innovation, regional cooperation, more investment and sustainability efforts.