First Steering Group Meeting in 2024 under the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea

First Steering Group Meeting in 2024 under the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea

Author: Black Sea Assistance Mechanism

The first Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea (CMA) Steering Group Meeting of 2024 took place on 20 March in Brussels, with in-person participation from national coordinators representing Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Türkiye, and Ukraine. The meeting was chaired by Moldova, 2024 CMA coordinator, and saw participation from the European Commission, the European External Action Service, National Hubs, and regional observers. 


During the meeting, Moldova presented the CMA work programme for 2024, which was approved by all countries. The work programme sets out the following priorities for 2024: addressing marine and riverine pollution and plastic litter; promoting green ports, innovative transport, and infrastructure; enhancing marine and coastal environmental knowledge for effective monitoring and observation; facilitating access to financial resources and funding opportunities for sustainable investment in the blue economy; and supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture through the existing Technical Group. A cross-cutting priority is to create and expand synergies with other sea basin initiatives like the Atlantic strategy and the WestMED initiative. 


The work programme also outlines activities like organising steering group meetings to discuss the operational organisation and implementation of the CMA, continuing with the “CMA in my country” campaign for local and national events (2 in each country), organising a regional webinar about funding opportunities in the Black Sea, participating in the EMD and the EU macro-regional and sea basin strategies days, and hosting the Black Sea stakeholder conference in Chisinau in September.  


The Commission updated on the main funding and cooperation opportunities linked with the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA), scientific pillar of the CMA. These opportunities include Horizon Europe projects, the EU Missions Ocean and Waters and its Danube-Black Sea lighthouse, and the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership. Additionally, the European Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) provided a state of play on the projects financed in the Black Sea under the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) regional flagship calls.


Looking beyond immediate challenges, observers from various organisations active in the region highlighted ongoing projects addressing marine litter, cetacean conservation, and fisheries management. Collaboration between stakeholders as well as the launch of new funding windows and initiatives (e.g., under INTERREG) underscore the collective commitment to safeguarding the Black Sea environment while promoting a sustainable blue economy.  


The Moldovan coordination and the Black Sea participating countries sets ambitious objectives for the implementation of the CMA in 2024. Stay tuned for updates on future events and activities by and for the Black Sea maritime community.