14 March 2023, Brussels. The 13th meeting of the UfM Working Group on Blue Economy took place on the 14th of March at the in Brussels, bringing together the UfM Focal Points on Blue Economy, relevant regional stakeholders, international financial institutions and donors. The event focused on the progress made regarding the Roadmap for the implementation of the 2nd UfM Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Blue Economy (SBE), as well as to present the Blue Mediterranean Partnership for potential expansion to the wider Mediterranean.
The meeting was an opportunity to further strengthen the regional dialogue based on concrete advancements at regional and national level, to maximise the existing resources and collaboration, as well as producing an overview and analysis of the ongoing initiatives, programmes, projects and actions. The monitoring, reporting & evaluation system associated to the Roadmap towards the fulfillment of the 2021 UfM Ministerial Declaration on SBE consists of multiple tasks, including: the overall monitoring of the implementation of the Roadmap, the approval and measurement of the indicators to capture its implementation and, lastly, the preparation of yearly summary updates by countries.
UfM Deputy Secretary General, Almotaz Abadi, was joined by the EU co-Presidencies, Delilah Al-Khudhairy, Director of Maritime Affairs (DG MARE), and the Jordan Co-Presidency, Mohammad Al-Sakra, Executive Director of Aqaba Development Corporation, who highlighted the opportunities to build an enabling environment in order to best tap the potential of the Sustainable Blue Economy in the region, as well as to respond to the adverse impacts of the environmental and climate pressures on the economic activities in the Mediterranean.
Delilah Al-Khudhairy presented the new EU strategy of relevance for Sustainable Blue Economy, “An enhanced EU Maritime Security Strategy for evolving maritime threats”, released on the 10 March of 2023, which constitutes the renewal of the EU Maritime Security Strategy and its Action Plan. The UfM alongside with EU DG Mare facilitated the first roundtable on the Blue Mediterranean Partnership (BMP) to discuss the legal framework that had been developed by EBRD and EUB with the beneficiary countries and donors. The Blue Mediterranean Partnership is a platform for the coordination of interventions and the leveraging of financial resources from partner organisations, beneficiaries and donors to enable sustainable Blue Economy investments in the non-EU countries of Mediterranean region.