Workshop: Paths to Decarbonisation: Cross-Sea Basin Synergies

Workshop: Paths to Decarbonisation: Cross-Sea Basin Synergies

Author: Black Sea Assistance Mechanism

Exploring paths for  strengthened regional cooperation towards decarbonisation of the blue economy

The full decarbonisation of the blue economy is becoming more and more relevant for the EU and its neighbouring countries, and it remains a truly cross-cutting challenge for the three sea basins strategies in the Atlantic, the WestMED and the Black Sea.

In this context, the workshop ‘Paths to decarbonisation: cross-sea basin synergies’ organised within the EMD 2023 edition in Brest, France, embedded a rich discussion amongst a panel of policy representatives from the Presidencies/Representatives of the three Sea Basin Strategies and the EU Commission, followed by a moderated Q&A session between panellists and the audience.

In the first part of the workshop, the state of play across the European sea basins was presented, while identifying possible EU-wide synergies to be activated towards a fully decarbonized sustainable blue economy, with the support from the three the EU Sea Basin Strategies, as promoted by the EU Commission in partnership with EU Member States and neighbour Countries.

Existing relevant actions and concrete success stories were highlighted by the representatives of the 3 sea basins. Relevant actions included:

  • The Atlantic Action Plan actively supporting renewable energy uptake through dedicated actions (i.e. ‘pillars’) aimed at carrying out technical exchanges and discussing future project ideas;
  • The WestMED Initiative identifying Green Shipping and Sustainable Aquaculture as priorities, via specific technical groups, both relying on sustainable and green energy;
  • The implementation of the Common Maritime Agenda (CMA) for the Black Sea needing specific skills and know-how to accelerate a transition towards decarbonisation.

As success stories portrayed as concrete deliverables and contributions towards fostering a full decarbonisation of the blue economy, the following were presented:

  • Atlantic Action Plan provided examples of aligned projects in the field of green and smart ports, such as AspBAN, MAGPIE or PIONEERS.
  • WestMED included among examples of concrete success stories the well-established Technical Groups (and related projects) on Green Shipping/Ports, Sustainable Aquaculture “AquaWest, the Maritime Clusters Alliance and the recently launched Community of Practice on MSP
  • Finally, Black Sea illustrated success stories with projects supported through EMFAF, such as 4BIZ andDBAN on acceleration of innovation ecosystems and the focus on sustainable entrepreneurship.

Building on existing actions, during the second part of the workshop, concrete areas for further support and synergies/cooperation across the three sea basins – both in terms of policy and project-support - were discussed:

  1. Firstly, pool and identify both strengths and weaknesses in each of the three sea basins, and identify common elements for collaboration.
  2. Secondly, identify structured opportunities for cross-sea basin policy dialogue. This could be translated in the first place into the participation of the respective Presidencies in the Steering Committees of the other two sea basins.
  3. This could eventually lead to the creation of a common platform for dialogue between the three sea basins, which could incorporate elements of policy and more concrete elements of projects or initiatives.
  4. Establish a concrete programme of exchanges between existing Technical Groups & Pillars on common topics.
  5. Stimulate the creation of cross-sea basin consortia for EU-wide calls under programmes such as Interreg (interregional cooperation), Horizon Europe, EMFAF, ERASMUS, LIFE, etc.
  6. Promote the exchange of good practices and cooperation amongst policy and science within/across sea basins.
  7. Including all the points above, establish a basic and straightforward collaboration plan setting up the different stages and an overall timeline.
  8. Finally, organise in 2024 of a first ever cross-sea basin event, whereby authorities and stakeholders from the Atlantic, Western Mediterranean and Black Sea can participate and exchange on the topics mentioned above. More information on this will be shared in due time.

The cross-sea basin workshop - which was the first of its kind - allowed for the identification of concrete and relevant opportunities for stronger cross-sea basin coordination and synergies, both at policy as well as technical level, with the objective of further streamlining overall cross-sea basins cooperation towards decarbonisation.