On November 9, 2017, as part of a new €14.5 million commitment to the regenerative Blue Economy initiative, the EU allocated €1.5 million to restoring marine and coastal ecosystems in the Mediterranean, including mitigation of climate change.
This was a rapid follow up to the EU-hosted 2017 Our Ocean conference, and in the run-up to the COP23 Ocean Day in Bonn, Germany on November 11, 2017, the European Commission launched a new €14.5 million investment initiative to further promote sustainable blue growth across the EU.
Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “At the Our Ocean conference in Malta, the European Union led by putting the blue economy on the agenda for the first time. Now we are leading in the follow up. Today we launch a €14.5 million investment initiative for green projects to safeguard our marine ecosystems. On ocean energy, tackling marine litter, and along Mediterranean coastlines, I am delighted that we are so quickly following up on our Our Ocean pledges.”
Funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, €8 million from this initiative is set aside to help SMEs, including start-ups, testing novel products and services in high-potential emerging blue economy sectors, including ocean renewable energy. In order to better tackle the growing challenge of marine litter, a further €2 million will target innovative technologies to prevent, monitor, remove and recycle marine litter from EU waters.
Furthermore, €3 million will support twinning projects in the Mediterranean Sea, including between maritime training and education institutions, blue economy businesses and local fishing communities.
The Our Ocean conference generated an unprecedented level of commitments: 437 were announced, including €7.2 billion in financial pledges.
The EU alone announced 36 commitments amounted to over €550 million. Moreover, the EU–hosted conference saw for the first time large-scale mobilization of the private sector in ocean conservation.
Featured photo of Sicily via Adobe Stock.